Between doing some work with the Marvel Cinematic Universe filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi has been deep in his new project, JOJO RABBIT, which finds him donning a Nazi uniform and sporting a bad comb-over and a tiny mustache as Adolf Hitler. Okay, it’s not the Hitler you’re all picturing, what with the fist slamming and general terribleness, but rather a version that acts as the imaginative creation of a 10-year-old boy. The prep work is thus a bit different than what an actor would normally go through when inhabiting a historical figure – and in fact – Waititi recently revealed he didn’t do any research for the role at all.
Waititi was speaking with Deadline recently about his new movie, which has just secured a prime October 18 release date as festival and awards season is in swing. He explained his different approach, but one which totally makes sense, because who the hell would want to watch a historically accurate Hitler interact with a child?
“I didn’t have to do any research, and I didn’t do any research. I didn’t base him on anything I’d seen about Hitler before. I just made him a version of myself that happened to have a bad haircut and a shitty little mustache. And a mediocre German accent.
It would just be too weird to play the actual Hitler, and I don’t think people would enjoy the character as much. Because he was such a fucking c*nt, and everyone knows that as well. I think people have got to relate to really enjoy the ride.”
JOJO RABBIT centers on a young, lonely German boy (Roman Griffin) in the midst of World War II, and after he discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic he has to “confront his own naive patriotism”, doing so with the aid of his odd imaginary friend who just so happens to be Adolf Hitler. But as Waititi would further explain, it’s not really Hitler because he comes from the mind of a child who has never met Hitler and thus has no idea what he’s really like.
“He’s like a 10 year-old kid’s version of Hitler. So he doesn’t have to share anything with actual Hitler, because 10 year-olds never meet Hitler. He’s basically a 10 year-old who happens to have a tiny little mustache.”
JOJO RABBIT is in theaters October 18.