Well, this is going to be interesting.
New Zealand filmmaker/actor Taika Waititi, the What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople helmer who recently made quite the career jump with Marvel hit Thor: Ragnarok, has lined up his next feature film… one that will see him playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. Of course.
Waititi will be writing, directing and starring in Jojo Rabbit, which will be set during World War II. The plot will follow a 10-year-old boy who is desperate to join Hitler’s ranks and who, confused with Nazi propaganda and deeply missing his father, conjures up an imaginary figure who is a combination of both Hitler and his dad.
According a character description unveiled by TheWrap, the outlet that broke the news, “This is not the Adolf we know and hate, this guy is goofy, charming, and glides through life with a child- like naivety.”
“It’s my version of… a lonely boy’s best version of his hero, which is really his dad,” Waititi said to TheWrap.
Here’s Fox Searchlight’s official synopsis for the planned film:
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.
Based on that “imagine Hitler’s a goofy, charming guy” thing, the film could certainly invite a lot of controversy, but Waititi’s resume suggests that he’ll be approaching it with a tonne of heart and a crowd-pleasing sense of humour. We’ll see.
Jojo Rabbit will be one of Fox Searchlight’s first projects under the umbrella of Disney. Production on the film is expected to kick off in late May.