Taika Waititi amazed to find non-binary actor who plays football and is Samoan

Taika Waititi has spoken on the importance of casting a non-binary actor in a non-binary role.



Taika Waititi's casting miracle
Taika Waititi's casting miracle

Taika Waititi says it was “very important” to cast a non-binary actor as the non-binary footballer player in ‘Next Goal Wins’.

The New Zealand director’s latest film sees him dramatise the 2014 documentary of the same name, about Dutch-American coach Thomas Rongen's efforts to lead the American Samoa national football team, considered the weakest football team in the world, to qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

And the 47-year-old filmmaker said to find a non-binary actor, who is Samoan and can play football was a miracle because there aren’t many who are all three.

He told Empire magazine: “That’s obviously very important. Kaimana plays the part of Jaiyah [Saelua].

“It’s very hard to find (a, a non-binary actor, and b), someone who’s also Samoan. And who can also play football! And who can act!

“I mean, that pool was very small.

“So to be able to find someone, it was amazing. She’s incredible. She carries it.”

Michael Fassbender leads the cast as Rongen.

In a statement, director Taika said: "The films and graphic novels of Alejandro Jodorowsky have influenced me and so many others for so long. I was stunned to be given the opportunity to bring his iconic characters to life and I am grateful to Alejandro, Fabrice and everyone at Humanoids for trusting me to do so."