Waititi hires indigenous talent for new Thor film

Hunt for the Wilderpeople director Taika Waititi has worked with Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are hired to work on Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok film, currently being filmed in Australia. 

Waititi says, "Being Māori, it’s extremely important to me to have native presence on any film. We’re bringing a huge Hollywood production to this country and it’s only right that we make an effort to include indigenous film makers on the journey.”

Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department has confirmed the eight attachments on Thor: Ragnarok at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.  An indigenous water company has also been contracted to provide water to the production.

Penny Smallacombe, Head of the Indigenous Department at Screen Australia says, “We are enormously proud of the talent and ambition of this cohort. From an attachment comes practical and hands-on experience, invaluable networking and the opportunity to forge a sustainable career in the industry.”

The indigenous crew members include experienced industry professionals in a range of areas including assistant directing, stunt work, set design, production, and grips. 

In comments to Buzzfeed News Australia, Waititi says having Māori, Aboriginal Australians and New Zealanders on the production has helped put him at ease.

“All of my Aboriginal friends feel very much like family, and for me it’s such a weird and new thing for me to work on a Hollywood film. Having Indigenous people and New Zealanders in the crew helps calm me down and makes me feel relaxed,” Waititi said.

The crew were reported by Buzzfeed to have received a traditional welcome from the Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast, where the film is currently in production.

Screen Australia’s Indigenous Department has also announced that two screenmakers will be attached to the Australian based production of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant art department and will work across set design, graphic design and onset graphics, set dressing and manufacturing props.

Thor: Ragnarok is the third film in the Thor franchise and is scheduled for release in late 2017.