Taika Waititi’s been keeping busy since Thor: Ragnarok blew up at the box office. He’s producing the TV series for What We Do in the Shadows and The Breaker Upperers, plus he’s doing a stop-motion animated movie based on Michael Jackson’s chimp, Bubbles. But for his follow-up feature to the box office smash, he’s directing Jojo Rabbit, which is bound to be slightly controversial since he’s playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. Per The Wrap:
Waititi’s Hitler is an imaginary friend to the protagonist, a 10-year-old boy who is desperate to join the dictator’s ranks during World War II. The film won’t include a sympathetic depiction of the actual Adolf Hitler — no surprise there. Rather, the imaginary Hitler in the film will be the invention of a boy who misses his dad, and, confused by Nazi propaganda, imagines a figure who is a combination of his father and the führer.
“It’s my version of… a lonely boy’s best version of his hero, which is really his dad,” Waititi told TheWrap on Wednesday.
I get the comedic juxtaposition here—what if one of the most evil people in human history was actually bumbling and funny, but it’s still going to invite controversy, which is fine. Personally, I’m more interested in whether or not the joke can sustain itself for a feature length film.
Jojo Rabbit plans to start filming in late May, which means it could be ready by the end of the year. It will be one of Fox Searchlight’s first features since the deal with Disney, and thankfully this doesn’t sound like a safe Disney feature. Here’s the official synopsis via Fox Searchlight:
JOJO RABBIT, by Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”), blends his signature humor, pathos, and deeply compelling characters in a World War II satire about a ten-year-old boy who, ridiculed by his peers and misunderstood by his mother, can’t quite figure out how to fit in. As the naïve young German struggles to understand his place in an increasingly Fascist regime, he resorts to an imaginary friend who can offer advice and help him cope.