When Uproxx talked to Sam Neill at Sundance in January, two topics stood out — Nick Jonas, and the comedic brilliance of writer and director Taika Waititi. If Waititi’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he and Flight of the Conchords alum Jemaine Clement wrote and directed What We Do in the Shadows together. He was also tapped to direct a little film called Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios. All of these are great things, of course, but the Kiwi comedy director and actor’s latest claim to fame is his Sundance crowd-pleaser, Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Piki Films just dropped the first trailer online, and it looks fantastic.
Based on Wild Pork and Watercress, a novel by beloved New Zealand author Barry Crump, Hunt for the Wilderpeople tells the story of a rebellious foster child, Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) and the family that takes him in. After getting lost in the bush and being found by his aged, angry foster uncle, Hec (Sam Neill), the two find themselves stranded in the wild and on the run from the authorities after a misunderstanding.
Neill praised Waititi’s work on the film, as well as newcomer Dennison’s performance as Ricky, last month and, for good measure, Hunt for the Wilderpeople received a standing ovation from the crowd in Utah. Now that the first official trailer is here, it’s easy to see why everyone who saw the initial screening loved the film so much. The jokes are fantastically written and performed, the chemistry between Neill and Dennison is palpable, and comedian Rhys Darby looks absolutely huggable with his massive, unkempt beard.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople will screen again at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas on March 14.