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Premieres & Events

"I'd Probably Just Become a Superhero"

By Chris Willard

Fresh off its successful festival run including stops at Sundance, the Berlinale and Cinevegas, the highly hyped social-outcast love story Eagle vs. Shark had its New York premiere Monday night. The comedy from Oscar-nominated New Zealand director Taika Waititi (the short film Two Cars, One Night) began as a personal project for Waititi and star Loren Horsley before being fully developed at the 2005 Sundance Directors and Screenwriters labs.

Wildlife sighting: (L-R) Loren Horsely, Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement at Monday's premiere of Eagle vs. Shark (Photo: Chris Willard)

The film is the story of two misfits, Lily (Horsley), a timid yet assertive fast-food worker, and Jarrod (Jemaine Clement, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords), Lily’s overly confident crush. After pining over Jarrod during his daily lunch visits to the restaurant where she works, Lily finally makes a move by showing up at a “Dress as Your Favorite Animal” party thrown by Jarrod. When the Eagle and the Shark get together, the two experience the ups and downs of being in love when the couple travels to Jarrod’s hometown so he can get vengeance on a high school nemesis. What follows is a funny, thoughtful look at relationships through the eyes of two atypical love interests.

Miramax acquired Eagle vs. Shark for distribution before a final draft was even completed. “It was actually at the Cannes Film Festival last year where we saw some early footage from the movie,” Miramax president Daniel Battsek told the crowd during his opening remarks. “We bought the film based on that footage, which is a scary and risky thing to do. But when we sat down to watch the completed film a few months later, it actually turned out to be even better than that promo footage.”

Before the show, The Reeler asked Waititi whether he plans a relocation to the U.S. if Eagle vs. Shark is a critical and commercial success. “I probably won’t be able to because I don’t have a green card," he replied. "So I’ll probably go back to New Zealand and make small, tiny independent films. That’s actually what I want to do. If I could do anything I wanted though -- if I got to come here (to the U.S.) and do anything I wanted -- I would probably come over here and have my body redesigned so that I had some sort of flying mechanism incorporated into my body design, sort of like bionic wings. I’d actually rather do that than make another movie.”

“You don’t really like making movies?” I said.

“Well, not if the wings are on offer," the director said. "If that’s on offer I’d probably just become a superhero rather than sitting around writing films.”

Eagle vs. Shark opens Friday at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

Posted at June 12, 2007 9:08 AM

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