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Nope Editor Compares Working With Taika Waititi To Jordan Peele - Exclusive

Writer-director Jordan Peele's third feature, "Nope," marks the second time that the rising filmmaker has collaborated on a theatrical film with editor Nicholas Monsour. In addition to editing Peele's previous movie, "Us," Monsour has also worked on Peele-driven TV projects like his relaunch of "The Twilight Zone" and the long-running comedy sketch show, "Key and Peele."

Meanwhile, between "Us" and "Nope," Monsour was hired to work as an editor on another, yet-unseen movie — "Next Goal Wins," the next movie to arrive from New Zealand-based filmmaker Taika Waititi. Yes, that's the same Taika Waititi who helmed both "Thor: Ragnarök" and the more recent "Thor: Love and Thunder." In between adventures in the MCU, Waititi directed what is likely to be a far more modest film about the American Samoa soccer team's improbable run at the 2014 World Cup (via Al Jazeera).

Both Peele and Waititi are brands unto themselves at this point. Peele is becoming an auteur in the realm of high-concept, socially conscious horror/sci-fi, while Waititi blends genuine emotion, whimsy, absurdist comedy, and gender-bending affirmation in whatever genre he lands in. Yet while they're operating in very different territories stylistically, Nicholas Monsour says that both directors have more in common than film journalists, loyal fans and general audiences might think.

"I definitely see a big similarity in that they're both really generous and so focused on the experience of their audience," Monsour tells Looper in an exclusive interview. "They want to make the movie that they've always wanted to see and that they have a hunch that their audience also has been wanting to see."

Peele and Waititi both like to experiment with their films as they're making them

One thing that Jordan Peele and Taika Waititi have in common as filmmakers, according to Nick Monsour, is that they're open to experimenting with the story, characters, tone, and more as they're in production, allowing room for changes and new ideas before, while, and after the cameras are rolling.

"[Jordan] continues developing the project the whole time," says Monsour. "As it's building, he can pivot and tweak ... So there's a core idea and core set of characters. Then as they find the locations, he thinks, 'Ooh, that's interesting. Maybe we should tweak this aspect or that aspect of the plot,' based on the realities of the casting, the production design, the locations, all of that."

Waititi, Monsour continues, operates in much the same way, but to an even more extreme degree. "The film I worked on, there were many, many, many options to work with down to the plot level," he recalls. "They would try new things in a scene unscripted, improvised, based on the character, that would create ramifications for the whole rest of the movie's plot ... my experience of working with Taika was that it was an even more extreme version of figuring it out in the edit, but intentionally doing that, like intentionally creating a whole variety of possible edits that he would then would go and figure it out."

Monsour adds that the amount of raw material shot for "Next Goal Wins" was "truly astounding," with one joke having 97 different versions to choose from – and they were "all really funny." Speaking of which, Monsour concludes by saying that while Waititi and Peele are very different in many ways, they do share one important trait: they're both "incredibly funny guys."

"Nope" is in theaters now, while "Next Goal Wins" is due out in 2023.