Taika Waititi’s Hitler In ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Was Inspired By The Fonz


It’s a tale as old as time: the young New Zealand filmmaker who goes from making an Oscar-nominated short film to playing a vampire to joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as both a director and actor (including a role in the highest-grossing movie of all-time) to portraying the leader of the Nazi party.

In his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, Taika Waititi plays Adolph Hitler, or more specifically, a buffoonish depiction of Hitler as imagined by a 10-year-old boy (Roman Griffin Davis). “Well, I was trying to make him the Fonz of 1945,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “It never felt like a danger because Hitler is just an access point into this kid who’s brainwashed. I guarantee you there were kids who fell asleep talking to an imaginary Hitler in the 1930s and 1940s.”

He points to the movie’s opening credits sequence, which juxtaposes Jojo running off to summer camp to the sound of The Beatles singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in German with footage of early Nazi rallies. “I looked at those documentaries and it just came to me: Hitler was the Beatles of the time in Germany. It was like Beatlemania, the way people responded.” (Via)

No wonder Disney fears Jojo Rabbit is too “edgy” (ugh) for its family-friendly brand. It’s not too edgy for his Waititi’s mom, though. “My mother comes and visits the set, this little Jewish woman from New Zealand, and I’m dressed like Hitler,” he said. “And the first time she sees me, she says, ‘Oh darling, you look great.’ If you’re wondering where my humor comes from, there’s your answer.”

Jojo Rabbit comes out October 18.

(Via the Los Angeles Times)

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