Taika Waititi embarrassed by Hitler role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 24 December 2019
Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi felt "embarrassed" to play Adolf Hitler in his new movie and kept apologising to people on set

Taika Waititi felt "embarrassed" to play Adolf Hitler in his new movie.

The director takes on the role of the Nazi leader, who appears as the imaginary friend of a 10-year-old German boy in 'Jojo Rabbit', and was mortified by his appearance when he got into character.

He told Empire magazine: "I was just sort of embarrassed. That's the main thing.

"I was embarrassed all the time to look like that.

"Going on set, I'd say, 'Look, sorry everyone.'

"It felt like it was hard for it not to be gratuitous. You start asking yourself why you're really doing it, 'Why am I dressed like this?' "

A number of big name actors were initially considered for the role but no one responded and, with hindsight, Taika thinks that was a good thing.

He said:" I feel like if it was – I'm just gonna pull a name out of the hat – George Clooney playing Hitler, that's all anyone would talk about.

"It would distract from the message of the film and from the real story, which is about those kids.

"He would be the main person on the poster and it would be 'The Clooney Hitler Film' rather than 'That Satire About Nazis'."

But the filmmaker never had himself in mind for the role and was stunned when Fox Searchlight said they wanted to make the movie with him as Hitler.

He said: "I did not see myself as the logical choice.

"I was like, 'You guys are nuts! Why would I do that? And also, how would I do that? You want me to bleach my skin?' "

However, Taika eventually realised he was the right choice as he knew exactly how he wanted to portray the character.

He said: "I didn't need to explain to anyone the level of buffoonery he had to have.

"I think a lot of other actors would have done s**tloads of research and tried to get it perfect with all the nuances. But that wasn't anything I was remotely interested in doing.

"Because I don't want to play Hitler, I wanna play a 10 year old's idea of a mixture of his absent dad and this dictator who he idolises."

Jojo Rabbit

  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • US
  • 1h 48min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Taika Waititi
  • Cast: Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Taika Waititi, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant
  • UK release: 3 January 2020

Jojo (Davis) is a ten-year-old, obedient Nazi boy in WWII Germany whose mother (Johansson) is in the Resistance; Jojo reinvents Hitler (Waititi) as his oddball imaginary friend. Waititi ridicules Nazi ideology with aplomb, and as Jojo journeys towards enlightenment and reconnects with his humanity, it’s even rather…