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In a short time Taika Waititi has not only proven himself one of the most gifted comedy-writers in contemporary cinema, he has forged a specific vision of the world that retains a child-like innocence whilst teetering on the edge of rudeness. After a number of successful shorts, Waititi made a splash internationally with 'Eagle vs. Shark' (2007) an oddball romance that balances quirkiness with genuine emotion. The same is true of 'Boy' (2010), which was completed after a short stint writing and directing episodes of 'Flight of the Conchords'. An amusing role in the otherwise forgettable 'The Green Lantern' (2011) raised his profile further – and highlighted the attention Hollywood was paying to him – and he brought his skill for jubilant juvenile antics to episodes of 'The Inbetweeners'. 'What We Do in the Shadows' (2014) extended a 2005 short to a feature. For all its ingenuity and silliness, the film feels like a novel idea stretched to capacity. Whereas the recent 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople', with its sparky chemistry between Sam Neill and future star Julian Dennison, is one of the 2016's unalloyed delights. Waititi is currently completing work on the latest Marvel instalment 'Thor: Ragnarok'.
Rachel Weisz was born in 1971 in London. Although deciding to be an actress from an early age, she famously turned down a role opposite Richard Gere in 'King David', and only started acting properly after she graduated from Cambridge University. Her breakthrough came with her role in 'The Mummy' (1999). She is also known for her performance in 'The Constant Gardener' (2005), for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Wim Wenders, born in Düsseldorf in 1945, ranks among the important directors of world cinema and is one of the leading representatives of 'New German Film'. In his early work, Wenders created uprooted characters trying to survive in post-war Germany. In the 1990s Wenders became first chairman and later president of the European Film Academy. He has received honorary doctorates from numerous academic institutes.
Growing up alongside his twin brother, Ben Whishaw was born in Bedforshire, UK in 1980. With an interest in theatre, Whishaw played Hamlet in a 2004 production, making him one of the youngest actors to ever play that role onstage. He later appeared in Chris Morris’ TV show ‘Nathan Barley’, and has also starred in many films including 'Bright Star' (2009), 'Cloud Atlas' (2012), and 'Lilting' (2014).
Like many before her, Kristen Wiig’s career took off when she began as a cast member on ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 2005. Her natural comedic skills lead her to supporting roles in ‘Knocked Up’ (2007), ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ (2008) and ‘Adventureland’ (2009). As well as acting Wiig was nominated for an Academy Award for writing ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011), and has recently starred in the acclaimed ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’ (2015) and ‘The Martian’ (2015).
Ray Winstone was born in London in 1957. From age 12, he began boxing, encapsulating a ‘tough guy’ image that would later characterise his film and TV roles. Winstone’s debut film performance was in ‘Scum’ (1979). His more recent film credits include ‘The Departed’ (2006), ‘Noah’ (2014) and voiceover work for films such as ‘Rango’ (2011).