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15 Things You Didn't Know About Taika Waititi

List RulesVote up the Taika Waititi facts that surprised you the most.

Taika Waititi is one of the most multi-talented performers of our generation. His work always manages to reach a wide array of audiences, and with such a résumé behind him - a director, writer, scene-stealing actor, and more - there are bound to be facts about Taika Waititi that'll shock his expansive fanbase.

Waititi started out his film career making smaller, independent comedies. Now, the filmmaker is an Oscar winner and has been helming the latest installments of the Thor franchise, including 2017's Thor: Ragnarok. Check out these Taika Waititi facts below and don't forget to vote!

  • Photo: Jojo Rabbit / Fox Searchlight Pictures
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    He's Jewish

    While Waititi took on the controversial role of Adolf Hitler in his film Jojo Rabbit, the filmmaker is actually Jewish himself. Waititi's mother, Robin Cohen, is of Russian-Jewish descent.

    While Jojo Rabbit was a huge success both critically and financially, Waititi believes the film would have bothered less people if they knew he himself was a Jewish man. Waititi told Indiewire, "They did a press screening with a lot of Jewish press, and a lot of the comments were 'I wish we would've known he was Jewish before we'd watched the movie.'"

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  • Photo: Boy / Transmission Films
    2

    His Father Was A Gang Member

    Waititi's 2010 coming-of-age dramedy, Boy, depicts a young boy whose long-absent crook of a father comes back into his life. Even though that film is fiction, it seems like reality is closer than one would think. Waititi revealed to actor Elijah Wood and producer Daniel Noah on their podcast, Visitation, that his real-life father is a notorious biker.

    During the podcast, Waititi said, "He was one of the founding members of Satan's Slaves." Satan's Slaves is a motorcycle club that dwells around Wellington, New Zealand. On top of that, Waititi's father is also an artist, and Waititi has said that his father is "very proud of all the stuff I did."

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  • Photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
    3

    He Directed The Two Highest Grossing New Zealand Films Ever

    The multi-talented entertainer was born and raised in New Zealand and seems proud of his place of birth, and the feeling seems mutual. In fact, Waititi is responsible for directing the two highest-grossing New Zealand films of all time.

    Boy, which released in 2010, grossed $9.2 million, while Hunt for the Wilderpeople was released in 2016 and grossed over $12 million. Though it may not sound like much for American standards, they are millions ahead of the runners up. Given how much Waititi has exploded in popularity worldwide, it's no surprise that his home country loves his films so much, especially given they mostly take place in New Zealand.

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  • 4

    He Made Oscars History

    Video: YouTube

    During the 2020 Academy Awards, Taika Waititi won the academy award for best-adapted screenplay for Jojo Rabbit. This was his first win, but that was not the only reason this outcome was so incredible. 

    Waititi became the first-ever Indigenous person to win the award. Waititi has opened the door for more diversity at the Oscars, just one of the many game-changing achievements that the filmmaker has added to his legacy.

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