Fans of the 2014 vampire comedy What We Do in the Shadows might already be familiar with the particular quirks, idiosyncrasies, and undeniable charm of New Zealand native Taika Waititi's larger body of work featuring predominantly foreign actors. The popular Kiwi writer/producer/actor/director has made something of a name for himself within the independent film circuit over the course of the past ten-plus years, though it wasn't until the release of the aforementioned genre comedy that he became a more recognizable name among mainstream filmgoing audiences.
That being said, Waititi is primed to make an even bigger splash with general audiences over the next couple years, first as a screenwriter on Disney Animation's Moana (which arrives in November 2016) - but especially when he directs the Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok (arriving in 2017). However, viewers who are interested in getting to know the director through his more typically laid back comedic fare will have Hunt for the Wilderpeople to tide them over in the meantime.
As seen in the official trailer above, Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople promises a mad-cap adventure and comedy of errors centering around the exploits of an unruly and undisciplined urban juvenile delinquent put under the foster care of a three-unit family living in the wilds of the New Zealand bush. In a strange and fortuitous turn of events (based on the novel by Wild Pork and Watercress by Barry Crump), the young boy Richard "Ricky" Baker (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle Hector Faulkner (Sam Neill) find themselves the targets of a nationwide manhunt, with one woman from Child, Youth and Family protective services serving as the duo's central antagonist.
The bond that Ricky and his Uncle Hector appear to share is quaintly reminiscent of the same kind of cross-generational relationship explored in the 1971 American cult-film Harold and Maude, and as such Dennison and Neill might just find themselves to be the Bud Court and Ruth Gordon of an entirely new generation. Hunt for the Wilderpeople also co-stars former Flight of the Conchords actor Rhys Darby in a supporting role - and if the footage seen thus far serves as any indication, then the rest of the cast and crew in Waititi's new film appear to be in a position to deliver one of the most charming comedy films of 2016.
While fans of the MCU continue to await the return of a certain Asgardian to the big screen, Waititi's more personal work like Hunt for the Wilderpeople might be something to watch - so that fans can prepare themselves for the kind of humor that he may include in Thor: Ragnarok. New Zealand natives will be able to see Waititi's new film in theaters within the month, while those in the U.S. will have to wait a bit longer.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople doesn't have an official U.S. theatrical release date yet, but should arrive sometime in 2016.
Source: Piki Films