Special thanks to Marvel, Disney and ABC for sending me on this all expense paid trip to cover THOR RAGNAROK, “The Mayor” on ABC, CARS 3 Blu-Ray release, Disney Junior’s “Vampirina” and littleBits’ STAR WARS Droid Inventor Kits. All opinions are my own.
When you first see Rachel House’s character, Topaz, in THOR: RAGNAROK you may have no idea who she is but she seems very familiar. Let me help you figure that out with this video from my friend Ari’s Twitter feed.
That’s right, from the sunny Polynesian island where she resided just a year ago as the voice of Moana’s grandma in the Disney animated film MOANA, Rachel House is playing a less crazy, more serious character in Taika Waitit’s THOR: RAGNAROK. Both roles couldn’t be any more different from each other and yet she’s managed to make both memorable for audiences. While I was in LA covering the THOR: RAGNAROK world premiere and press junket I got a chance to sit down with House, along with my 24 Disney blogger friends, and chat about her role, working with Taika Waititi and whether or not she thinks she’ll prove to be Taika’s good luck charm again for this film’s success.
Interview with Rachel House: From MOANA to Marvel
House has a longstanding relationship with THOR: RAGNAROK director, Taika Waititi. She’s appeared in a number of films including his popular indie film HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE. She dished on what it was like to film a big budget film with Waititi and how the other actors reacted to his sense of humor on the set of RAGNAROK.
Rachel House: I met him when he was 17. He was in a play in this little theater in Wellington, and he was the best thing about it, you know? And I was a couple years older, and at drama school at the time. I just met him after and said, “You were so great.” And then started becoming a fan of his little crazy comedy stuff that he’d do with Jemaine Clement, and another guy called Nigel Collins…they’d have sword fights with straws and reenact STAR WARS. That was their comedy. I became a very big fan. From then, we just kept in touch. I had no idea he was gonna end up being a awesome film director. He was an artist, and an actor, and a comedian.
I’m pretty used to keeping a straight face, ‘cause I’ve done a lot of Taika’s films, and it’s always like that. Some of the other actors weren’t so, so good at it. [LAUGHTER] [They were] like losing it especially Jeff Goldblum [he plays the Grandmaster], ‘cause he was so funny. And, you know, I mean that’s not even half of it what you see. It’s not even a quarter of the improvisation and stuff that we were doing, you know? And Jeff was just so masterful at improvisation.
House’s character Topaz (L) with Jeff Goldblum (Grandmaster) and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie). Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.
I mean, this is the first major film [Taika Waititi’s] done. The others were very independent, therefore we had a very limited amount of time to shoot. So, you know, we shot HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE with five weeks. And we had to literally run around the bush, and the mud, and the snow, and the rain. It was a lot of fun. But we had no time, you know? So, we just had to keep going. Whereas in THOR because of the scale I think as well, we got to kind of breathe a little bit. Taika was allowed to play as much as possible. So that was really great seeing him able to do that without any kind of time restraint.
What was that like transforming to this character?
Kind of easy-ish. It’s a kind of character that Taika [LAUGHS] always makes me play. It’s funny, ‘cause I just play all these really mean characters [in Taika’s films] and I’m not mean at all. I’m sort of really ooh about meanness. So I think he kind of enjoys that.
House has worked with Taika Waititi a lot and she’s been coined as his good luck charm. She told us what she thought about this.
Yeah, not good, because [when you put that out there, you know, it can reverse. And for that I was really scared. I was like, “No,” because that’s prophetic coming out before the film had come out. I was thinking, “Oh no, maybe that’s gonna implode.” But it didn’t, thank goodness!
Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.