Kiwi director Taika Waititi opens up about latest film Next Goal Wins

Taika Waititi's new film is based on a true story about the worst football team in the world. 

It's a surprising choice for a director who claims to know nothing about sport. 

Now he's ticking sports-comedy off the list with Next Goal Wins, a film that follows American-Samoa's national football team as they attempt to score their first-ever international victory. 

Central to the team was Jaiyah Saelua - the first-ever openly trans woman to compete in a FIFA World Cup qualifier. 

Taika Waititi spoke with The Project alongside Saelua, to discuss the ins and outs of the film. 

"I want to see more Pacific Islanders on screen, and I watched the documentary that Jaiyah has been part of and I fell in love with the story, I couldn't believe it was a true story," Waititi said.  

"I'd never made a sports film, and I just thought now's my chance." 

When asked by The Project host Kanoa Lloyd how Saelua felt about Waititi making a film that she is such a big part of, she responded: "The honest truth is I didn't know much about Taika Waititi." 

Waititi then slapped his knees, stood up, and pretended to walk off, much to the amusement of the audience.  

"No, I'm not big on film in general," Saeluah reassured him, while grabbing him to sit back down.  

Saeluah said the more she read up on Waititi's work, the more "excited and nervous" she got. 

"It dawned on me that this project was going to be a lot bigger than I initially expected or anticipated, and he hasn't disappointed," she smiled. 

"I mean he is a Pacific Islander, and I don't think any other director in Hollywood would have done this story justice." 

When asked by The Project host Jesse Mulligan if Waititi prefers telling new stories or making a movie based off a true story, he responded: "In all honesty it's easier to take a story that's already happened or something that's been written." 

"I get the best of both worlds, I get to play in the sandpit with the real story, but also turn it into my own thing," he said. 

"Look, let's face it, ask any writer, it's really hard coming up with an original idea." 

Watch the full interview above for more.