For the past year or so, there’s been an influx of Hollywood celebrities into Australia. Some actors were only in the country for work purposes, while others, like Chris Hemsworth and Zac Efron, have made the land down under their home. The epicenter of this celebrity explosion has been the peaceful town of Byron Bay. With so many celebrities flocking to the country, there’s been a backlash from local Australians saying they don’t want ‘em there. Now, it appears Australia’s neighbor New Zealand is watching the uproar closely. Native New Zealander and Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi took a moment to joke about Americans wanting to move to his home country.
Yahoo! reported Waititi took the clever jab while presenting the Best Director award at the Critics Choice Awards. The multi-hyphenate was recognizing the nominees coming from a multitude of countries. He couldn’t help but seize the moment by calling out any Americans looking to jump the Australia train for the island country. The Free Guy actor said jokingly before announcing the winner:
Listen to Taika Waititi! The Kiwis have seen what happened with the Aussies, and they want no part of it. Unfortunately, Americans’ international reputation has proven to be true… once again. Waititi wanted Americans to know they’re welcomed as visitors, but not as permanent residents. There’s nothing worse than having your daily errands ruined by a celeb being followed by photographers. As the MCU stalwart pointed out, U.S. citizens have already messed up one country, and he doesn’t want his native country to be next.
The director’s plea might be too little too late as his home country is already a hub for Hollywood stars. American productions like X, The Power of the Dog, and James Cameron’s Avatar sequels were all filmed in New Zealand during the pandemic (though Avatar 2‘s production evidently caused some drama there). The country became a go-to for the film and television industry after Hollywood and the U.S. went into complete lockdown in 2020 and early 2021. Even shows like Cowboy Bebop and the high-budgeted The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power took advantage of the lush and tranquil landscape (and the tax incentives). So the cat is already out of the bag about the island country.
Of course, the filmmaker isn’t above displaying his homeland and Australia. He filmed Thor: Love and Thunder in Australia, as evident by the numerous photos of the cast. Viewers will get to see what was shot in Australia when the Thor: Ragnarok sequel arrives in theaters on July 8. It is part of a heavy slate of upcoming Marvel movies premiering in 2022, but those not interested in the MCU can look forward to plenty of other types of upcoming movies.