Read my Exclusive Interview With Rachel House as Topaz in Thor Ragnarok– She dishes on her costume, working with Taika, and the feud between Topaz and Valkyrie.
Exclusive Interview With Rachel House as Topaz in Thor Ragnarok
Just a few weeks ago, while attending the Thor Ragnarok Premiere, I had the opportunity to interview Rachel House. She plays Topaz in Thor Ragnarok, and you may not even recognize her transformation into this character. However, if you’ve seen Moana, then you know her as “Gramma Tala.”
Let me just say this; she is a sweet delight. Her soft-spoken and beautiful accent compliments her beauty in and out. When you meet her in person, compared to the character she plays in Thor Ragnarok, it’s a night and day difference.
In Thor Ragnarok, Rachel House’s character, Topaz, plays the assistant to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum). When watching the film, you can automatically pick up the tension between Topaz and Valkyrie. Topaz is not fond of the Grandmaster showing Valkyrie any attention and praise. Yes, Topaz is hatin’ big time.
Topaz feels she is the Grandmaster’s bodyguard, his one, and only protector. Topaz always has a mean look on her face, carries the world on her shoulders, and wakes up on the wrong side of the bed every day.
The Feud Between Topaz and Valkyrie
Rachel hinted about a backstory between Topaz and Valkyrie. Hey Marvel, wouldn’t it to be cool to do a movie all about Valkyrie and how she came to Sakaar so we can learn the backstory between her and Topaz. #thanks
Rachel mentioned at the beginning it was quite a mess trying to be mean to each other, but with the guidance of Taika, they were able to find a groove and throw the banter and shade you see in Thor Ragnarok. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that Rachel and Tessa [Thompson] didn’t like each other, but that’s far from the truth.
Here’s what Rachel had to say about her friendship with Tessa Thompson.
“Oh, yeah, she’s a darling. What a darling. She’s wonderful. And it was so; I felt so embarrassed because I watched Creed, and I said to her, “Oh, I loved [you] in that boxing film.” I always forget names of things. And then I realized that I’d seen Dear White People like three times, ‘cause I love it so much. And, she’s in it, and I had no idea when I met her I was like, “Oh.”
Rachel went on to say she didn’t realize it was Tessa from Dear White People until she googled her (because we all google the people we’re about to work with or go on a trip with, right!?).
Working With Taika
Thor Ragnarok provides so much humor, and from everything we’ve learned during the press junket about Taika bringing humor and comedy to the set, I can imagine it would be hard to keep a straight face on set.
Rachel shared how she handled that. “You know, I’m pretty used to keeping a straight face, ‘cause I’ve done a lot of Taika’s films, and he, it’s always like that.”
She went on to say that many of the other actors had a hard time keeping a straight face. And of course, there was a lot of improvising going. She mentioned Jeff [Goldblum] being the “masterful at improvisation.”
Rachel’s favorite part about working with Taika is all the fun he brings to the set.
The History of Rachel House + Taika Waititi
You may not know this, but this is not the first film Rachel has worked on under the direction of Taika. She’s done independent films with him, which at times they only had a short window of time to shoot- like five weeks.
Rachel has known Taika’s since he was 17. He was in a play in a little theater in Wellington, “he was the best thing about it,” Rachel mentioned. She was only a few years older than him, and also in drama school during that time. After seeing him in the play, Rachel gave him positive feedback on his performance. After that, she became a fan of his work.
“So, I became a very big fan. From then, we just kept staying in touch. And I mean, I had no idea he was gonna end up being an awesome film director. He was an artist, and an actor, and a comedian.”
It has been stated by Taika, that Rachel is his muse, and she has been in many of his movies. So, it wasn’t a surprise when she had a top secret audition told to her by her agent. When she found out the audition was for Marvel, she knew Taika had something to do with it.
“Well, that’ll be Taika. You know, of course, it will. And, and then I was given this tiny little saying with a few lines. And then got a very kind of drawl email from Taika saying, “Oh, by the way, you got the role.”
Rachel mentioned that she felt scared of being Taika’s good luck charm/muse. When things get put out there like that, the pressure is on to bring your A game. Based on what I saw in Thor Ragnarok, Rachel delivered on her performance as Topaz. And the fact that this film is already named the best Marvel movie to date, that good luck charm paid off.
On Working With Marvel
Rachel shared her thoughts on stepping into the Marvel universe.
Rachel mentioned it was intimidating working on her first Marvel movie. “But you get over that really quickly. You know, when you meet people, and you know, there are so many wonderful people involved in the Marvel universe. [However] they’re just people. They’re just normal people, talented people. So, the intimidation didn’t last long.”
Rachel thought her costume was the most challenging thing for her on set every day. “It was really stiff,” she mentioned. “It was hard to move. And also, when we were doing that spaceship scene, like I was grr, ‘cause it’s quite stiff. It’s beautifully made. The costume designer is out of this world. But that was a bit hard to move in, you know?”
If that costume was stiff, Rachel sure didn’t show it. You can catch her playing the mean and grumpy (but hilariously funny) Topaz in Thor Ragnarok, now in theaters!
Did you see the movie? What did you think of Rachel House’s character as Topaz? Wasn’t she a riot?!