Taika Waititi interview: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ producer
“I’ve never been passionate about pirates; if anything I associate pirates with less cool costume parties,” admits “Our Flag Means” death star Taika Waititi. For our recent webchat he continues, “The show’s about pirates, but it’s not really about pirates. It’s a love story about two guys that happen to be on boats.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Waititi produces the comedy series for HBO Max and directed the pilot. It tells the tale of Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), an aristocrat who abandons his family to pursue the life of a pirate. Waititi plays infamous pirate Blackbeard. When the two meet, both form an unlikely bond. Waititi reveals, “We really had to support each other in the romantic stuff and emotional beats. You need a person that you are acting against to be there for you. We are both comedians and it’s not necessarily our best suit, the old cry acting.” He later adds, “When it comes to the gay content, none of the characters make a big deal out of it. We’ve created a world where being gay or bi is completely accepted. It creates a world where it’s so normal. It’s aspirational.”
Blackbeard introduces crew to an elaborate spectacle to trick someone. On whether the cast got up to any on the set, Waititi explains, “I was in this big beard and leather clothes. We were shooting in summer. It was boiling hot. I’d sit in this tent with an air conditioning unit. It was so loud I couldn’t really talk to anyone. Maybe they were… making me so uncomfortable so I was always in a bad mood, because the character is supposed to be over it and uncomfortable with life. That’s kind of how I felt the whole time. Maybe the whole thing was a practical joke on me.”
Waititi won an Oscar in 2017 for writing “Jojo Rabbit.” His much anticipated “Thor: Love and Thunder” is released next month. Along with “Our Flag,” he produces “What We Do in the Shadows” and “Reservation Dogs.” All three of his current series are competing for Best Comedy Series on this summer’s Emmy Awards ballot.
The producer reflects, “’Our Flag Means Death is basically a show about mid-life crisis. Everyone in the show is trying to figure out what they are trying to do. I like to think I’ve done pretty well for myself, and I’m really enjoy the work that I do. But every now and then I do wake up and wonder, ‘Hmm, was this really the right path? What if I was supposed to make ceramics, and that was my true calling?’