Writer/director/actor Taika Waititi attends a special advance screening of "Boy" at DGA Theater on March 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)more pics »Taika Waititi
is an Academy Award Nominee (for his 2004 short film, Two Cars, One Night
), a painter, a writer (Flight of the Conchords
), and the director and star of the most successful film in New Zealand history. We jumped at the chance to sit down with Waititi to discuss that film, Boy
, as well as his process as a filmmaker, his influences and of course, whose nude portrait he would like to paint if he could choose anyone. Taika and I with Papa Smurf.
uses some deft tributes to New Wave filmmaking (specifically Truffaut) to begin its story about a young Maori kid (nicknamed "Boy") who introduces us to "his interesting life." Boy lives in a tiny coastal town with his brother, Rocky, a goat named Leaf, and an assortment of cousins and friends who all run around in dingy clothes and look for fun. The story is set in 1984 and Boy's hero is Michael Jackson
, whose dance moves he uses to impress his school girl crush, Chardonnay.
Boy gets a big surprise when his other hero, and father, Alamein (Waititi) shows up one day on a hunt for treasure. The pater familias had buried a bag of loot in the front yard before going to jail and he's brought his gang (consisting of two mates) with him to help find it. Boy's jubilation over his father's arrival is slowly dissipated over the course of the film as the man's many foibles begin to appear. Also Check Out:
The film is a coming of age tale but is much more. It's an appreciation of a little seen part of a beautiful island nation. It's also a hilarious ode to a number of films whose influences are prominent throughout (such as Jules & Jim, Bottle Rocket, Napoleon Dynamite,
and Slumdog Millionaire
We discussed all these things and much more with Waititi during our interview below: