Taika on starring in a $200 million box office flop vs. making a $1.6 million hit


EXCLUSIVE: ‘I wondered what the f*** I was doing in this movie’: New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi reveals what it was really like starring in Ryan Reynolds mega-flop Green Lantern

By Maria Lewis for Daily Mail Australia
7 September 2014

He’s best known as the Oscar-winning [losing] filmmaker behind hits like Flight Of The Conchords and New Zealand’s highest-ever grossing film Boy.

But Taika Waititi had a brush with mainstream Hollywood fame when he starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in one of the most famous box-office flops: superhero film Green Lantern.

The 39-year-old […] has revealed that he ‘wasn’t really surprised’ the movie was a massive failure.

Made on a budget of $US200million and with a marketing spend of over $US100million, the Green Lantern movie was considered a financial failure in 2011 when it grossed only $US219,851,172 at the international box-office.

Waititi had been cast in the film after producers saw his performance in Boy, which premiered at the prestigious Sundance film festival and cast him as Green Lantern’s best friend on the spot.

It was a rare foray into the world of big budget filmmaking and one that he has stayed away from since, finding critical and commercial success with his three smaller features Eagle Vs Shark, Boy and What We Do In The Shadows.

In fact his latest – made with his longtime collaborator and one half of Flight Of The Conchords Jemaine Clement – was made for just under $NZ1.6million.

Clement and Waititi – who have know each other since meeting in an audition room as teenagers – even wavered their fee to get the film made as co-writers, co-directors, co-producers and co-stars. […]

The duo’s mutual success in the US with Flight Of The Conchords – Clement starring and Waititi directing – saw them pitch the film to several major film studios in the US, with Zach Galifianakis even considered to star at one point.

‘We sabotaged that opportunity on purpose I suppose,’ said Waititi.

‘We did cold pitches in the US where we weren’t really looking for a deal but kind of wanted to gauge our opportunities and what they would think of this idea.

‘But they were only ever interested in who might be in it or who it might be a vehicle for, like Zach Galifianakis.

‘Our only intention for this whole thing was to just put our friends in it, who we wrote these characters for.

‘I mean, these people aren’t stars – they’re not even stars in New Zealand.’

Flight Of The Conchords alumni Rhys Darby does feature in the film however, which is getting an international release around Halloween.

Waititi did admit that the film was a much easier pitch than his biggest success to date: Boy.

‘Vampires and horror movie creatures are a lot more popular and sellable as an idea,’ he said.

‘With Boy, it was like “It’s a kinda fun but also depressing film about kids that are abandoned with no credible celebrities in it”.

‘No one was leaping up and down screaming “Yeah, let’s totally make that”.’

Source: Daily Mail Australia

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