‘Jojo Rabbit’: Taika Waititi on Understanding a 10-Year-Old in the Hitler Youth | FYC

     January 22, 2020

We already shared a little piece from our Collider FYC conversation with Jojo Rabbit writer-director Taika Waititi on securing the rights to incorporate Beatles music in the film, but now it’s time to open the floodgates to the full interview which included more interesting Jojo Rabbit behind-the-scenes details as well as a healthy dose of Taika Waititi humor. Waititi is as humble as they come, seizing opportunities to be self deprecating at every turn but the truth of the matter is, he crafted a film that really struck a chord and went on to secure six Academy Award nominations and a slew of other accolades from the The Toronto International Film Festival Grolsch People’s Choice Award to a DGA nomination and more. 

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Image via Fox Searchlight

While I do hope you watch and enjoy the full chat in the video player at the top of this article, I did want to highlight one of my favorite bits from the conversation, Waititi’s thoughts on Jojo’s enthusiasm for going to Hitler Youth training camp at the very beginning of the film. Here’s what Waititi had to say about Jojo’s mad dash from home sweet home to training camp during the opening credits:

“I wanted to show how excited he was with this guy. And in the time, what you’ve got to realize is that if you weren’t in the Hitler Youth, you would be bullied relentlessly. It was something that every single kid aspired to be part of. So you didn’t really have much choice. To rebel would be very hard for you and he was caught up in that whole thing from an early age. And I think just knowing myself as a 10-year-old, I wouldn’t have been quite as aware and I think I just would have wanted to fit in. Being older it’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t have been like that,’ but 10-year-olds are 10-year-olds and it’s very hard to think back about what you were like and just the idea of trying to be cool or trying to fit in or trying to not be bullied it sort of informs a lot of what you do at that age.”

jojo-rabbit-fyc-screening-taika-waititiWaititi then segued into how that idea informed the role of Hitler in the movie:

“I guess that also links to his imaginary friend, which really is just an idea of a person that’s cobbled together through this guy who he thinks is his hero, probably there’s part of his dad in there and other role models and part of himself. And that’s the only real reason that I would feel like I could have done that role is because he’s a buffoon and an idiot and I’m the same. It’s basically another 10-year-old because he comes from a 10-year-old’s mind, so he can only know what a 10-year-old knows.”

You can hear more about Waititi committing to play Hitler and loads more in the full Jojo Rabbit Q&A from our Collider FYC screening at the top of this article. And if you’re looking for even more Collider FYC content, the latest episode right here covers the results of the Producers Guild Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards and how they might affect the Best Picture race at the Academy Awards.

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