Top 10 Taika Waititi Performances

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Top 10 Taika Waititi Performances

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Cassondra Feltus
In our eyes, Taika Waititi can do no wrong! For this list, we'll be looking at best moments from the genius New Zealand actor-writer-director. Our countdown includes "Lightyear", “The Mandalorian”, “Jojo Rabbit”, and more!
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Top 10 Taika Waititi Performances


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Taika Waititi Performances.

For this list, we’ll be looking at best moments from the genius New Zealand actor-writer-director. We’ll be covering some major plot points, so a spoiler warning is now in effect.

What’s YOUR favorite Waititi performance? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Ratcatcher

“The Suicide Squad” (2021)
When Taika Waititi’s name was tied to James Gunn’s action comedy, fans had no idea what character he’d play. As Cleo Cazo (cazzo), aka Ratcatcher 2, tells the squad about her past, viewers were pleasantly surprised to see Waititi as the original Ratcatcher. He kept his daughter comfortable on the streets…with the help of numerous rodents. Along the way, Ratcatcher encouraged his daughter Cleo to be kind and to carry love for outcasts. Waititi manages to convey a ton about the character with limited screen time. Sadly, his Ratcatcher died after taking too many illegal substances when Cleo was just a kid. However, the impact of his words carries a lot of weight. His words inspire Cleo in the final battle.

#9: Glootie

“Rick and Morty” (2013-)
It just makes sense for Taika Waititi to be a part of “Rick and Morty,” doesn’t it? In the Season 4 episode, “The Old Man and the Seat,” Waititi lends his voice to Glootie, Rick’s alien intern. He has a tattoo on his head that very clearly states: “DO NOT DEVELOP MY APP.” But Rick’s hapless son-in-law Jerry ignores the warnings and creates a chaotic app called Lovefinderrz. No matter how wild things get for the users, Waititi plays Glootie as a calm and level headed character. His stillness provides a great comedic contrast when everyone else is going through a meltdown. Waititi’s so entertaining in the role that we almost forgave Glootie and his brethren for trying to steal Earth’s water.

#8: Mo Morrison

"Lightyear" (2022)
Need a pen? Well, even if you don't, Mo has you covered. This self-proclaimed quitter didn't set out to be a Space Ranger. He didn't even really set out to be a Junior Zap Patrol member. He was just looking for a good time and got roped into an adventure of a lifetime. Waititi has a knack for playing characters who are flung into extraordinary situations, yet come across as casual about their surroundings. This makes him perfectly tailored to voice Mo, who goes with the flow while bringing levity to an epic story. Despite starting as something of a middle-aged slacker, Mo slowly emerges as an unlikely hero who just might be Space Ranger material. At the very least, he's good for notetaking.

#7: Alamein

“Boy” (2010)
When Waititi’s Alamein returns home to find stolen money that he buried before getting locked up, he meets his sons Boy and Rocky. He preferred living life as a petty criminal instead of taking care of his children. Although this irresponsible dad has many faults, the actor makes him extremely likable. And since Boy tends to make up tons of fantastical stories about his dad, Waititi gets to play the main role of Alamein as well as exaggerated versions of the character. How can you not love him after seeing him using his Michael Jackson moves to fight gang members? Waititi ultimately kills it as the strange yet cool absentee father in this heartwarming, hilarious and at times, sad film.

#6: Antwan Hovachelik

“Free Guy” (2021)
What’s a director to do when he needs a break? Act in an epic action-comedy about video games, of course! Waititi plays Antwan Hovachelik, the hilariously villainous CEO of Soonami Games. After a sentient NPC named Guy goes viral in his hit game, Antwan becomes hellbent on destroying the secret behind the sensation’s existence. Waititi is ridiculously good at playing this cringe tech mogul. He brings a ton of energy to a guy whose arrogance is constantly dialed up to 11. According to interviews, Director Shawn Levy gave Waititi a lot of freedom when it came to improv. This shooting method apparently led to HOURS of unused footage. We’ll be waiting for that supercut!

#5: IG-11

“The Mandalorian” (2019-)
In addition to directing an episode of “The Mandalorian,” Taika Waititi voiced our favorite assassin turned nurse droid, IG-11. His actor’s first appearance saw him voicing a cold and logical bounty hunter. But after the main Mandalorian shot IG-11 in the head, the droid was fixed and reprogrammed to use his considerable skills to help keep the adorable Grogu safe. Waititi made IG-11 evolution’s from enemy to wisecracking protector believable with a fantastic performance. He brought a surprising amount of humanity and life to the role while still feeling very much like a droid. The actor did such a tremendous job that we struggled to hold back tears when he sacrificed himself for his allies.

#4: Korg

Marvel Cinematic Universe (2017-)
Since appearing in 2017’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” Watiti’s witty and lovable Korg has quickly become a fan favorite in the MCU. The Kronan warrior first met the God of Thunder in the gladiator’s quarters on Sakaar. Much of the humor comes from the fact that he comes off as a massive and intimidating looking warrior before he opens his mouth. When Korg isn’t checking up on his friends, he’s providing hilarious commentary. Audiences were beyond grateful that Watiti’s character survived “Infinity War'' to play video games with Thor in “Avengers: Endgame.” According to the director, the upcoming “Thor: Love and Thunder” will dive into Korg’s background. As if we needed another reason to be excited for the film.

#3: Blackbeard

“Our Flag Means Death” (2022-)

When most people hear the word Blackbeard, they probably think of a cold and brutal pirate who only cares about treasure and plundering. But Waititi completely flipped the script on the character in “Our Flag Means Death”. Instead of fully leaning into Blackbeard’s brutality, the actor introduces the pirate as a more introspective character who’s going through a midlife crisis. He starts to realize what he wants out of life after meeting Stede Bonnet. While Waititi is predictably hilarious in the role, what makes the performance outstanding is how layered it is. He’s able to take the character to places we won’t spoil for those who haven’t seen it. Waititi is one of the main reasons that “Our Flag Means Death” is essential viewing.

#2: Adolf Hitler

“Jojo Rabbit” (2019)
Playing Hitler is a bold choice whether you’re making a comedy or drama. But Waititi’s interpretation is wholly his own. After all, he's playing a 10-year-old boy’s imaginary friend who just happens to be Adolf Hitler. While this high concept premise could’ve easily flopped, it works in the hands of Waititi. He makes the imaginary dictator feel goofy for a large portion of the film. At times, the character feels more childish than the young lead actor Jojo! But Watiti can also turn off the charm to portray the character as a monstrous character. While the writer-director deservedly won the 2020 Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, we’d argue that his acting was award-worthy too.

#1: Viago Von Dorna Schmarten Scheden Heimburg

“What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)
“What We Do in the Shadows” mostly follows vampiric roommates in Wellington, New Zealand. Waititi, who co-wrote the script with Jemaine Clement, plays a 379-year-old vampire named Viago. Despite being a blood-sucking murderer, Viago has a certain innocence to him. Maybe it’s the boyish smile, or his excitability. Waititi’s comedic timing is perfect in every scene. And as icing on the cake, a good amount of dialogue was improvised by the actor and his coworkers. The film became so popular that it spawned a TV series of the same name with a new cast and setting. Fortunately, Waititi and his co-stars soon reprised their roles during the first season as members of the Vampiric Council. Watiti’s Viago is always welcome in our homes.
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