Watch: 'Maori guy made of rocks' – Taika Waititi talks about giving new Thor film a Kiwi feel and the 'next level' catering on set

Acclaimed Kiwi director Taika Waititi has given an engaging and open interview to 1 NEWS reporter Kimberlee Downs at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Sydney today.

The full interview includes Waititi talking about bringing a Kiwi flavour to his first Hollywood blockbuster film Thor: Ragnarok and what it was like to direct acting legend Sir Anthony Hopkins.

There's never a dull moment when the animated Waititi is involved, so enjoy Downs' uncut chat with the director of iconic Kiwi flicks Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

The ever hilarious Kiwi director Taika Waititi spoke to 1 NEWS Australia reporter Kim Downs at the red carpet of his movie Thor. Source: 1 NEWS

Thor director Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth showed their unique bond on the red carpet for the premiere of Thor in Australia. Source: 1 NEWS

The Australian had nothing but praise for his good friend Taika Waititi on the red carpet for the latest Marvel film Thor. Source: 1 NEWS

Kimberlee Downs got all the goss on the Thor: Ragnarok shoot and what's next for the in-demand Kiwi director. Source: 1 NEWS



Read Deadpool 2 star Rob Delaney's heartbreaking essay on son's cancer battle

Rob Delaney has penned a heartbreaking essay on his son's cancer battle, after the toddler passed away aged just two-years-old.

The Deadpool 2 star was struck by tragedy earlier this year when his son Henry - whom he had with his wife Leah - lost his battle with brain cancer, and has now shared an emotional essay that was originally penned as part of a book he wanted to release for parents of sick children.

Rob decided to stop writing the book when he saw his son's last "bad MRI scan", saying he and his family "just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy."

Read full essay excerpt here.

Explaining why he posted the excerpt on Medium yesterday, the 41-year-old comedian wrote: "The reason I'm putting this out there now is that the intended audience for this book was to be my fellow parents of very sick children.

"They were always so tired and sad, like ghosts, walking the halls of the hospitals, and I wanted them to know someone understood and cared.

"I'd still like them to know that ... But I can't write that book anymore because our family's story has a different ending than I'd hoped for. Maybe I'll write a different book in the future, but now my responsibility is to my family and myself as we grieve our beautiful Henry."

The essay focuses on the months surrounding Henry's diagnoses and how his family helped the tot deal with his treatment, and Rob says that despite his son's condition, he felt "excited" to see him at the hospital.

Rob writes in part: "I may wish Henry wasn't in the hospital and it may make me f***ing sick that my kids haven't lived under the same roof for over a year. But I'm always, always happy to enter the hospital every morning and see him.

"It's exciting every day to walk into his room and see him and see him see me."

The actor cuts off his essay "abruptly", as he never finished the story before he learned Henry's diagnoses was terminal.

He said: "I'm aware this ends somewhat abruptly. The above was part of a book proposal I put together before Henry's tumour came back and we learned that he would die. I stopped writing when we saw the new, bad MRI.

"My wife and his brothers and I just wanted to be with him around the clock and make sure his final months were happy. And they were."

Rob Delaney with his son Henry. Source: Twitter


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Serena Williams is 'proud' of her friend Meghan Markle's charity work

Tennis champion Serena Williams has revealed she's "proud" of Meghan Markle after she launched a cookbook in support of the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The 37-year-old royal has written the foreword to a recipe book from cooks at the Hubb Community Kitchen, which is based in London, and the Duchess of Sussex has revealed she felt "connected" to the Community Kitchen because it offers a "place for women to laugh, grieve, cry and cook together".

Responding to the announcement, the Duchess' good friend Serena wrote on her Twitter account: "I used to call you Meghan (and I still do) but dear Duchess of Sussex your first project "Together" a cookbook bringing women of all cultures together. I could not be more excited about it and proud of you.

"It's beautiful - diversity, inclusivity, coming together in grief or joy."

The book - which is called Together: Our Community Cookbook - marks the former Suits actress' first solo project as a royal.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, centre front, poses for a photograph with women of the Hubb Community Kitchen. Source: Associated Press

It features 50 recipes by women whose community was affected by the fire in the Grenfell tower block in London, which killed 72 people in June last year.

The long-term ambition behind the project is to provide support for the Grenfell families and others within the community.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex cooks with women in the Hubb Community Kitchen at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre. Source: Associated Press

The Duchess has played a hands-on role with the book, helping the group to find a publisher, and then providing legal support through the Royal Foundation charity.

The Royal Foundation is also responsible for ensuring that the proceeds from the sale of the book go directly to the Hubb Community Kitchen and other similar projects.

Speaking about the book, Meghan recently explained: "Through this charitable endeavour, the proceeds will allow the kitchen to thrive and keep the global spirit of community alive."

Meghan Markle and Serena Williams. Source: Associated Press


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Bert and Ernie aren't gay, Sesame Street insists as persistent puppet sexuality rumours swell again

On again off again gay rights icons Bert and Ernie aren't gay. Repeat: The famous puppets are not in a same-sex relationship.

That's the word from the producers of Sesame Street, who had to quell rumours about the duo's personal life yet again today after the theory - oft repeated over the show's nearly 50-year history -- was stoked by an interview with a former writer.

"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were (gay)," said Mark Saltzman, who wrote for the show throughout most of the 1980s, in an interview with LGBTQ website Queerty.

"I don't think I'd know how else to write them, but as a loving couple... Because how else?"

Mr Saltzman said he was inspired to write their loving interactions and minor quibbles by his own relationship.

But in a tweet this morning, Sesame Street issued a statement insisting that "they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation".

"As we have always said, Bert and Ernie are best friends," producers said. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves."

A writer previously revealed he wrote the roommates as a gay couple, but Sesame Workshop says none of the show’s puppets have a sexual orientation. Source: 1 NEWS


Award-winning thriller hitting Auckland stage - 'It will make you squeal'

There's an award-winning thriller showing in Auckland this week, and not in the movies, but on stage.

Māori playwright Albert Belz and director Tainui Tukiwaho are presenting Cradle Song, and they say the genre is fairly new to Kiwi theatres, as 1 NEWS' Laura Twyman discovers. 

A Māori playwright and director are behind Cradle Song, with a genre they say is fairly new to Kiwi theatres. Source: Breakfast