Taika Waititi has played a vampire, a preacher, and as recently as April, an alien rock that talks and shoots a laser cannon. Now in a few weeks, he'll appear in theaters as Adolph Hitler in the World War 2 satire Jojo Rabbit. A movie that's been a bit divisive in social media circles since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last weekend, Waititi has since opened up on his initial hesitation playing the despicable dictator.
Speaking with TheWrap at TIFF, Waititi admits he didn't initially want to play the role. “It wasn’t my intention at all writing the script and it was actually something Fox Searchlight encouraged me to do,” Waititi said. “They encouraged me to play the role and I felt very nervous about that. But then I thought, ‘you know what? Once in a generation, an actor comes along who sort of changes the game…'”
That's when Jojo Rabbit costar Stephen Merchant joked the filmmaker couldn't afford an actor that'd be willing to play Hitler in a major release.
The movie has gotten mixed reviews from those who've seen it, debuting with a paltry 62 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Since, the movie's been upgraded to a 75 percent Fresh rating with 55 reviews counted.
Joining Waititi (Hitler) and Merchant (Gestapo Captain Deertz) includes Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo "Rabbit" Betzler), Scarlett Johansson (Rosie Betzler), Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa Korr), Sam Rockwell (Nazi Captain Lenzendorf), Rebel Wilson (Fräulein Rahm), and Alfie Allen (Finkel). Waititi both directed and wrote the film, producing it along with Carthew Neal and his wife Chelsea Winstanley.
The full synopsis for the film reads, "Writer-director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunter 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) whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young girl (Thomasin McKenzie) in her attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi), Jojo must confront his naive patriotism."
Jojo Rabbit bows October 18th.
Will you be seeing Jojo Rabbit opening weekend? What's been your favorite Waititi film to date? Share your thoughts in the comments below.