So, yes, Taiki Waititi has, well, sort of, finally figured out how to talk about his movie. Jo Jo Rabbit is oftentimes strangely sweet, and oftentimes deadly serious. Which, yes, you might expect from a movie in which Waititi literally plays Hitler.
A month ago or so, when Jo Jo Rabbit was on the festival circuit, Waititi would say in interviews he didn’t really know how to talk about this movie without scaring people off. And, yes, it’s easier now after winning the top prize in Toronto, plus the fact that, as you read this, it’s literally playing in theaters.
In an interview setting, Waititi can’t help but be quick-witted at funny. And, ahead, he’s certainly that. But, as a parallel to his movie that he’s promoting, he can turn on a dime and be sternly serious. An (at times uncharacteristically emotional) Waititi wants you to know two things about Jo Jo Rabbit before you see it: The first is the less you know the better, so I’ll skip any sort of plot description here. The second is, for the life of him, he can’t believe he has to make a satire telling people that “Nazis are bad,” but, yes, here we are.
Of course, Waititi is also returning for Thor: Love and Thunder, and somehow convinced Natalie Portman to return, who seemed done with the franchise. Ahead, he explains how he convinced her. And he also talks a bit about his experience directing an episode of the new Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, and voicing IG-11.
When this movie premiered at Toronto you said that you didn’t know how to explain this movie without freaking people out. Do you still feel that way?
Oh, I don’t bother explaining it. Just sit and watch the movie. A lot of people say that they prefer not knowing anything about the film going in.
Yes, I didn’t know anything.
Yeah, and I think it’s a better way to see it. I don’t even like going to a gallery, having to read all about the piece of art that I’m about to see. I don’t see the point in that. I just want to go and look at it and figure it out for myself. I’m not the kind of person who needs to read articles first, or think the poster should just be a big explanation of the film before you go in.
Though, your movie poster makes it clear this is “a satire.”
Yes, but that’s because Americans need everything explained to them [laughs]. They just have no idea how to take anything unless it’s explained to them and also unless it’s compared to something they’ve seen before.