There’s a reason why Taika Waititi has become one of the most beloved rising filmmakers of recent years: simply put, he makes great movies. From his charm-filled coming-of-age stories like Boy and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, to high-concept swings like Jojo Rabbit and What We Do In The Shadows, to the colourful campy space-opera of Thor: Ragnarok, his films are funny, frank, and frequently excellent. And according to the man himself, his next feature is no different. He’s back this summer with Thor: Love And Thunder (since his adaptation of Next Goal Wins is still awaiting release), and he sounds especially confident in what he’s cooked up next for the Strongest Avenger.
“It’s a fantastic film,” Waititi tells Empire in the Summer Preview issue. By the sounds of it, the filmmaker himself is surprised by what he’s got on his hands – since his style is to let his films grow organically. “I don’t try to control my films, or how they turn out,” he explains. “I sort of let them appear to me. And with this film, I’m like, ‘Hey, you’re kind of cooler than the thing I was originally hoping to make.’ Tonally it’s where I’ve always wanted it.”
The aim this time, he says, was “a film about love, with superheroes and outer space” – one that sees Natalie Portman's Jane Foster crash back into Thor’s life as the Mjölnir-wielding Mighty Thor. And with Chris Hemsworth’s Asgardian already on a journey of self-discovery, as teased in the film’s first trailer, it sounds like we’re in for very different kind of Thor flick – a (somewhat) sincere love story. “I wanted to embrace this thing that I was always a bit dismissive of, and explore this idea of love, and show characters who do believe in love,” says Waititi. “On paper, it feels kinds of cringy to me, but there’s a way of doing it with cool characters making a cool movie, and also having a thing that no fan ever wants in a superhero movie, which is people talking about love, and characters kissing.”
As ever with Waititi, though, nothing it quite what you expect – and apparently that includes the nature of the romance here. “I think most people will assume that the love story is between Chris and Natalie,” he teases. “I can’t promise that what people think is going to happen in this film will happen.” Get ready for the love to roll as much as the thunder.
Read Empire’s full Taika Waititi interview – talking Thor: Love And Thunder, the return of Jane Foster, and making an all-out MCU rom-com – in the Summer Preview issue, on sale Thursday 12 May, and available to pre-order online here. Thor: Love And Thunder comes to UK cinemas from 8 July.