A critically acclaimed director, screenwriter, and comedian, Taika Waititi is a man of many talents. And now he can add zen life coach to his ever-expanding resume.
When MTV News caught up with Waititi following the Marvel Studios presentation at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday (July 22), where his first major Hollywood film, Thor: Ragnarok, debuted a colorful new trailer, he couldn’t have been more chill about the whole thing. But that’s just the kind of guy Waititi is, which makes him a awesome boss for Ragnarok stars Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo.
“Why come to work and stress out?” Waititi told MTV News’ Josh Horowitz of the “very loose and collaborate mood” he fostered on the set of the third Thor movie. “I’m trying to bring my tone and sensibility from my other films.”
In doing so, Waititi would encourage his cast to play music on set, dance, eat together, and, most importantly, improv. According to the acclaimed indie director, 80 percent of Thor: Ragnarok was improvised, or ad-libbed.
“My style of working is I’ll often be behind the camera, or right next to the camera yelling words at people, like, ‘Say this, say this! Say it this way!'” he said. “I’ll straight-up give Anthony Hopkins a line reading. I don’t care.”
It’s that kind of attitude and loose style that landed Waititi the job in the first place, and given the film’s rapturous reception in Hall H, it’s clearly paying off for Marvel — even though in the moment, there were numerous times when Waititi and the cast thought they were all going to be fired.
“Mark Ruffalo would be finished shooting for the day,” Waititi recalled, “and he’d come up to me and he’d be like, ‘Why have we not been fired yet? We are doing the most insane stuff in this film, so where’s the phone call?'”
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters November 3, 2017.