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November 2017

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Page 10 of 43 9 POST NOVEMBER 2017 DIRECTOR'S CHAIR he "God of Thunder" is back, although you may not recognize him at first without his trademark long locks and hammer. But then, a lot has changed since his last outing, the 2013 global blockbuster, "Thor: The Dark World," which made nearly $644 million at the box office. This time, in Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok, Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok — the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civ- ilization — at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger — the Incredible Hulk. With an all-star cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeff Goldblum and Sam Neill joining Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo reprising their roles as Thor and the Hulk, anticipation is high for the third installment of the mega-franchise. This is especially true since the reins of the rebooted series were handed over to a relative unknown, New Zealand writer/director Taika Waititi. An unlikely choice to helm the big-budget produc- tion, given his background in small indie comedies (Flight of the Conchords, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Waititi has shaken up the status quo and brought a fresh perspective and impish humor to the usually dead-serious, ponderous world of angst-ridden superheroes. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Waititi talks about making the film, his love of post and CG, and the latest advances in VFX. This was a very ambitious project. What sort of film did you set out to make? "A film with a lot of life and fun in it. I think there's a very popular approach to the superhero movie now where it's all very dark and moody, but as much as I really love all those movies, it's just not really my style or sensibility, so I want- ed to stay more in touch with what I'm known for — movies with more fun and a bit of irreverence. And I wanted to stay true to the fun of comic books and inject that into the visuals." Ragnarok isn't your traditional Thor film. The signature long hair and hammer are gone, and the tone is far lighter. How much freedom did Marvel give you? "A lot. Throughout the whole process they'd constantly check in on all the stuff I was doing, and I was actually surprised at how much they let me get away with, mainly in terms of humor and all the character stuff. I put a lot of my own style into the tone — and it's a style that's not very common in these kinds of movies, I think. I was very impressed with how much faith they had in me and my approach." What were the main technical challenges of pulling all this together? "The really big one was getting our heads around all the complex VFX stuff while we were shooting, because there was a lot of blue screen and you're working with just half the set. You know you'll extend them later, so you're trying to carve out all that and you know it'll all change in post any- way. So you're kind of guessing, but trying to make as much of a plan as possible about how it's all going to look six months TAIKA WAITITI ON THOR: RAGNAROK BY IAIN BLAIR T The 'God of Thunder' shows off some new powers, and advanced visual effects, courtesy of VFX super Jake Morrison. INDIE DIRECTOR SHAKES THINGS UP WITH FRESH PERSPECTIVE & IMPISH HUMOR

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