It’s been nearly a year since we got any kind of update about director Taika Waititi‘s new comedy, Next Goal Wins. The Oscar-winning director, writer, and actor’s next feature stars Michael Fassbender as a soccer coach sent to American Samoa to coach the tiny island’s local team in hopes of them becoming formidable competition World Cup in 2001. Next Goal Wins also stars Elisabeth Moss and Armie Hammer, who we’ll soon get to watch in Ben Wheatley‘s new adaptation of Rebecca, coming to Netflix on October 21.
We couldn’t resist the chance to pick Hammer’s brain about his experiences working with Waititi. So, during a recent video interview with Hammer about Rebecca, Collider’s own Steven Weintraub did exactly that, first asking Hammer to describe the plot of Next Goal Wins and what it was like working with Waititi.
Hammer began with a brief summary of Next Goal Wins and honed in on how this movie is yet another prime example of Waititi’s ability to blend comedy and heartwarming drama. According to Hammer, “[Waititi’s] phenomenally talented. He’s almost too talented for his own good. [Next Goal Wins is] the story of a coach — played hilariously and perfectly by Michael Fassbender — who goes, kind of as a dead-end job, just to kind of get rid of him, [is sent] down to American Samoa to coach a soccer team there and it’s about what happens to this coach goes down to Samoa to coach a soccer team. It’s hilarious and it’s fun and it’s heartfelt and there are things in it that are really touching. Like all of Taika’s films. Like Hunt for the Wilderpeople. That movie is funny and touching and you’ll cry and laugh in the same film. That’s very Taika. When he wants to do that, that’s what he’s gonna do.”
“Having him on set is the best. I mean, when he’s not sleeping, that is [smiles]. Actually, his napping thing is also very impressive. He’s got this thing where he’ll go, ‘Okay, set up this camera over there, set up that over there, set up that over there, set up that over there. How long will that be?’ [And the crew says], ‘That’ll be about three minutes,’ [and he goes], ‘Okay great,’ and then he’ll be out [Hammer mimes sleeping for a second before talking] and then two minutes and 55 seconds later he’ll go, ‘Okay, are the cameras ready?’ and you’re just like, ‘What was that? Holy shit!’”
The Rebecca star went on to discuss the sheer genius behind Waititi’s seemingly madcap directorial style. Hammer ended our chat about Waititi with this delightfully revealing insight into how the director’s brain works: “But also, his brain works better than everyone else’s. So when the whole point of the film was a lot of improvisation, he would be there going, ‘Okay now go down the line, now talk about this, now talk about that, now say this, now say that.’ I mean, he’s right there helping you and coaching you through this whole thing. It just makes you feel really safe and really protected. Yeah, he’s a lot of fun to work with.”
Look for Steve’s full interview with Armie Hammer this week.