Movies

Your first look at Taika Waititi's WWII satire JoJo Rabbit

The Kiwi director's "visionistical" masterpiece will be released in October.

The first trailer for Taika Waititi's WWII satire JoJo Rabbit has been released - and it's packed full of his signature deadpan humour.
The Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople director posted the trailer to social media, likening himself to a visionary.
""Visionary" is so overused to describe directors these days," he joked. "I decided to make up my own term. "Visionistical". Only a truly visionistical filmmaker would take the time to make up their own word to describe themselves! #humility."
The film follows a lonely German boy (played by newcomer Roman Griffin Davis) who is a member of the Hitler Youth. The boy's world is turned upside down when he discovers his mother, played by Scarlett Johansson, is hiding a young Jewish girl in her attic.
That girl is played by 17-year-old Kiwi actress Thomasin McKenzie, daughter of Miranda Harcourt. Taika Waititi plays the boy's imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler.
The film also stars Rebel Wilson, Stephen Merchant, Alfie Allen and Sam Rockwell.
Taika and Scarlett with newcomer Roman Griffin Davis.
The script, which was based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens, had been finished and ready to shoot since 2012 but the film took time time to get off the ground due to financing. Waititi secured the backing of a major film studio thanks to Fox Searchlight, a division of 20th Century Fox, who gave the film the green light in 2017. Filming began in Prague in May 2018.
Matthew Greenfield, head of production for Fox Searchlight, told Vanity Fair "We believe in Taika as a filmmaker, and we felt like this was a movie where we can make it on our scale and the right way."
Casting for the central character began in England in February 2018, with producers looking for a "quirky, working class" boy aged 10-12, "preferably small for his age, with a distinctive look" to play the lead role. The casting notice stressed that "no previous acting experience is necessary."
Waititi is renowned for casting youngsters with limited to no acting experience. He discovered James Rolleston at the age of 11 and cast him in the lead role in his celebrated film Boy.
He then made Julian Dennison a household name thanks to Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Taika and Scarlett with newcomer Roman Griffin Davis.
Marketing JoJo Rabbit as an anti-hate and anti-war satire, Waititi said he looked forward to ridiculing Nazis and riling racists.
"I'm stoked to begin shooting my anti-war satire," Waititi said at the time. "We've assembled an incredible cast and I couldn't be more excited to finally ridicule Nazis and their beliefs. This film is going to piss off a lot of racists and that makes me very happy."
He also joked on social media "What better way to insult Hitler than having him portrayed by a Polynesian Jew?"
On playing Hitler, Waititi told The Wrap "It's my version of a lonely boy's best version of his hero, which is really his dad."
The character description stated "This is not the Adolf we know and hate. This guy is goofy, charming, and glides through life with a child-like naivety."

As well as directing and starring, Taika also produced the film alongside his wife Chelsea Winstanley, who also worked as a producer on his vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows.
JoJo Rabbit will premiere at Toronto International Film Festival and will be released in New Zealand cinemas on October 24th.