We've got a thing called the 'tall puppy syndrome' in New Zealand, where if anyone is doing really well, it's quite common to try and bring them down - like, cut them down and say, 'You've been to the moon? So what? I mean, plenty of people have been to the moon.'
— Taika Waititi
There are 100,000 versions of Jeff Goldblum.
I've loved vampires since I was a kid, or loved a lot of the vampire movies that I saw. Anything with sharp teeth, really. I remember you could get those fake vampire teeth, and I remember just keeping them in all the time.
You have to let go of the control and allow things to develop. You need to have a flexible attitude, especially working with kids.
You have to write what you know.
Visually, I'm always considering shots and composition quite a lot, and I love putting art into films, and I do a lot of the art.
New Zealand was kind of getting a reputation for making middle-of-the-road films that weren't really that unique. They were kind of New Zealand versions of overseas films, and for sure, having an Oscar nomination totally helped me get funding.
'Boy' was about my dad.
'Eagle vs Shark' is a little film I could take risks with and make mistakes on.
I was depressed about the roles that were on offer, so I had to make my own stories.
Basically, the big studios and companies distributing your movie just take a big cut of profit for making posters.
You can have integrity with your art, but worrying about integrity doesn't pay the bills.
I think everyone has experienced those boring arguments about whose turn it is to do the dishes.
Unfortunately, there aren't enough interesting acting roles in New Zealand to sustain a career.
I really didn't want to be boxed into becoming a certain kind of film-maker - becoming the Maori story film-maker because I had made those short films.
There's nothing cooler than going to work and hanging around with your friends and laughing, because it's something that you get told off for throughout your entire time at school... it's just like a big 'in your face' to those bully teachers that you had when you were a kid.
To me, spending millions of dollars recreating the world's sadness with actors and props and sets - it seems like a kind of arrogant waste of money... Unless, that is, it's a film about an historical event.
I really like arcade games and like the '80s and early '90s kind of games, just because there's a real kind of naivete to them, but there's like a real inventiveness to it as well.
I'm not very proud of coming from a place that everyone thinks is this pure green country whereas, in reality, all our lakes and waterways are poison.
I like flawed characters, and I like seeing people who are supposed to be not villains but antagonists. There are elements to them, which are really annoying, but you kind of see where they came from. You see the things that caused those inadequacies.
I actually keep having this one recurring dream where I'm a little number standing in a line of other numbers that look identical to me. Then there are more and more of these numbers that follow me, again and again and again. It's more of a nightmare.
I love films that make you feel something but also deliver that payload behind jokes.
Coming from a very small country, it's always nice to see our own doing well.
I come from a big extended family, so it's very normal to be around babies for us, but when it's your own, it's a very different experience for us.
My favorite was 'The Lost Boys.' Corey Haim wore this trench coat, and I made my mum buy me a trench coat. I wore it to school, to primary school.
I'm not interested in doing work that doesn't captivate me.
I did roles that I hated, and there were roles that were detrimental to my acting ability. There were roles that I was always doing that were always the comic relief... it was destroying my soul.
As kids, we all thought Bob Marley was Maori.
I love living in New Zealand.
Not every person can be an artist: we need people to run stuff.
My father is a visual artist, so I was influenced by him, and my mother is an English teacher who forced me to read a lot of books and poetry and get involved in theatre. I developed a varied taste for different arts.
I've always said that, first and foremost, I make films for New Zealanders. They're my target audience. Then after that, if people appreciate my stories from outside this country, then that's an added bonus.
We all have to remember that New Zealand is built on these kind of people who are rebels and renegades, people doing it their own way, fighting for freedom, and braving the elements. I think it's cool to celebrate that.
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!' I'll straight-up give Anthony Hopkins a line reading. I don't care.
When I play characters, I like playing people who just comment on stuff, stand around and talk.
Actors are terrible at overthinking things before they turn up to work, and they decide on a way they're going to do it, and then it's hard to break them out of it.
Most people in their lives do feel like they are outsiders at some point.
I wish I was less good-looking and more unpopular. Then I could get into politics and use my pent-up resentment about being ugly and unpopular to systematically destroy the country.
Most of my films - if you look at the tone, apart from 'Shadows,' which is straight-up comedy - the tone is a mix between comedy and pathos, and I really love that.
I don't think there's much tolerance for people who are a little different or withdrawn or quiet. They always seem to be the ones who stick out the most, the ones who want to just shy away and withdraw.
I always wanted to play a dapper gentleman, and I also always wanted to play my mum.
My favourite kind of comedy comes from the awkwardness of living, the stuff that makes you cringe but borders on tragic - that is more interesting to me. It resonates; it comes from emotional truth.
'Eagle vs Shark' was about keeping myself sane. I wanted to go back to my comedy roots with people I trusted and had worked with before and do something low-budget and more experimental.
When you're on set, you're like, 'Everyone's judging me because I'm the director, and everyone thinks I'm doing this because I just love myself and I want to do everything.' Part of it's true: I do want to do everything, and I do kind of love myself.
When I became a film-maker, all my favourite films, they weren't comedies.
I've never been a guy who was anal about housework. A typical Wellington flat when I was flatting was a warehouse with, basically, sheets hung up for walls.
That's what attracts me to the kind of characters I try and write - that they're not cut and dried.
I had a country upbringing in a predominantly Maori community, and that contrasted with a very multi-cultured arts community in the Aro Valley in Wellington: growing up around a lot of theatre and poets and writers and stuff.
I think... part of life skills is also socialising... I think many people make the mistake of not going out... You can spend a little bit too much time with your nose in your book or with your fingers on a keyboard, and you miss out.
People overcoming the odds is actually a really important part of humanity, and I don't think we kind of get to celebrate that as much as we should.