At a time when the world is facing a rise in sympathies for Nazi ideologies and artists are getting very serious about warning us about the threat that might pose, actor/writer/director Taika Waititi has gone in a different direction with "Jojo Rabbit," an unapologetic satire about a young Hitler Youth member whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler.
Waititi first made a splash in America as the writer and director of the 2014 fake documentary vampire comedy "What We Do in the Shadows," in which he also plays the vampire Viago. The movie's growing cult following allowed him to create an excellent 2019 FX TV series that follows a different set of vampires living on Staten Island.
He also wrote, directed and performed the voice for the CGI character Korg in "Thor: Ragnarok," by far the funniest Marvel movie to date. He's slated to repeat those duties for "Thor: Love and Thunder" scheduled for release in 2021.
So now Waititi's got some juice in Hollywood. What does he do with that clout? He makes a World War II satire that's sure to offend the good people on both sides.
"Jojo Rabbit" is the story of Jojo "Rabbit" Betzler (Roman Griffin Davis), a 10-year-old boy who's trying to make his way as an awkward member of his local Hitler Youth chapter. Jojo learns that his mom (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a young Jewish girl named Elsa Koor (Thomasin McKenzie) in the walls of their home and turns to his imaginary friend Adolf for advice.
The trailer also features Rebel Wilson as a Nazi leading a book burning, Sam Rockwell as a Nazi playing with firearms and Stephen Merchant as an enthusiastic Nazi. Waititi's dancing Hitler suggests that aspiring Nazis won't find much to enjoy in the movie.
And his Tweets suggest that anyone offended by coarse language might also want to stay clear.
The movie is set to make its world premiere on Sept. 8 at the Toronto International Film Festival and will open in U.S. theaters on Oct. 18.