Through “Next Goal Wins,” director Taika Waititi makes his first non-Marvel feature since his Oscar-winning “Jojo Rabbit” in 2019. Although the multidisciplinary has been rather busy working on TV shows like “Reservation Dogs” and “Our Flag Means Death,” he is equally shocked at how long it has taken him to produce another fresh satire.
In January 2020, the filming of his most recent movie, which stars Michael Fassbender as a European football coach who takes over the infamously terrible American Samoa national team, concluded. The COVID-19 outbreak prevented Waititi from working on the movie, which caused the post-production and reshoot procedure to be prolonged until the film’s September release at the Toronto International Film Festival. Waititi revealed in a recent interview with Insider that he was eventually appreciative of the delays because his history in independent cinema has always made him a fan of loose deadlines.
Regarding his post-production workflow, Waititi stated, “I always try to have a lot of time. [What We Do in the] Shadows’ was 14 months of editing. And we needed that to feel we got it right. I always edit and then take time off. I edit, take a month off, come back to it. It’s a shame that we constantly have to rush the post-production process because you spend years writing a thing and then filming it and then you have just 10 weeks in post. What? That’s crazy. So I welcome having time.” Waititi continued, explaining that the delays caused by the pandemic allowed him to rework some of the film’s creative elements, which is how he came up with the idea to have himself play the movie’s narrator, a priest. “The little thing like the priest presenting the film, that came right at the end. It was an idea of like, maybe it should be presented as a fable,” he said. “Because, yes, it’s a true story, but I’ve taken a lot of it and turned it into my own thing.”
Interestingly, even if football manager Thomas Rongen’s real life served as the inspiration for “Next Goal Wins,” Waititi doesn’t apologize for using an aesthetic license to alter the facts and create his version of events. He made a joke about how, starting with the Bible writers, he was just the most recent in a long series of storytellers due to his propensity for embellishment. Waititi added, “I mean, in the Bible, they took real-life things that happened and then they added, you know, magic. I’m just like the guy who wrote the Bible, bro.”