Taika Waititi Reveals the Real Reason He Played Hitler in ‘Jojo Rabbit’

     October 18, 2019

With Jojo Rabbit now playing in limited release, I recently sat down with writer-director Taika Waititi for an exclusive interview. As you’ve probably heard me say a number of times, Jojo Rabbit is one of my favorite films of the year and Waititi has written and directed a fantastic anti-hate satire set in Nazi Germany. While I figured he would craft something special, Jojo Rabbit was well above my lofty expectations and many others had the same opinion as it won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival against some serious competition.

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Image via Fox Searchlight

If you haven’t seen the trailers, Jojo Rabbit follows a lonely 10-year-old boy Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis) in Nazi Germany whose imaginary best Adolf Hitler (Waititi) eggs him on. But Jojo’s loyalties and beliefs are tested when he discovers that his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. The film also stars Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen, and Sam Rockwell. For more on Jojo Rabbit, you can read Matt Goldberg’s review or watch this exclusive clip.

During my interview with Taika Waititi, he talked about why he didn’t pitch the film to anyone, how Fox Searchlight would only make the film if he played Hitler, why he wanted to tell the story in an unusual way, when he figured out the tone of the film, what he was feeling when he first started editing, and more.

Check out what Waititi had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

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Image via Fox Searchlight

Taika Waititi:

  • How tough was it to get the film made?
  • Why he didn’t pitch the film. He just sent out the script.
  • How Fox Searchlight would only make the film if he played Hitler.
  • Why it’s important to constantly shine a light on what the Nazi did during World War 2.
  • Why he wanted to tell the story in an unusual way.
  • When did he figure out the tone of the film?
  • What was he feeling when he stepped into the editing room?

Here’s the official synopsis for Jojo Rabbit:

Writer director Taika Waititi (THOR: RAGNAROK, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE), brings his signature style of humor and pathos to his latest film, JOJO RABBIT, a World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy (Roman Griffin Davis as JoJo) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

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