New York Magazine

“Heil Me, Man”

Taika Waititi made Jojo Rabbit, a black comedy about a Nazi fanboy coming of age at the end of the Third Reich. He cast himself as Hitler.
Waititi on the set of Jojo Rabbit.

JOJO RABBIT opens October 18.

TAIKA WAITITI never did get used to looking into mirrors and seeing Adolf Hitler staring back at him. “I’m usually quite lively on set, and I like to make everyone feel comfortable,” he recalls of his days shooting Jojo Rabbit. “I’d just be waltzing around and then catch a glimpse of myself. Oh, right, I’m dressed as one of the most evil people in human history.”

Technically speaking, Waititi (who, let the record state, was born in New Zealand to a Maori father and a Jewish mother) doesn’t play the historical Hitler in Jojo Rabbit. Rather, he plays a buffoonish, make-believe version of the Führer who serves as an imaginary best friend to 10-year-old Johannes, played by Roman Griffin Davis, a hapless but eager member of the Hitler Youth—as all boys considered “racially pure” had to be at the time—and the protagonist of Waititi’s film.

Jojo Rabbit is a goofy and colorful and occasionally harrowing comedy set in a small town in Germany in the closing months of World War II; it follows Johannes, nicknamed Jojo, as he discovers, much to his horror, that his beautiful and lively mother (Scarlett Johansson), who has been raising him on her own, has been secretly harboring a Jewish teenager named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie) inside the walls of their tasteful bourgeois home. It’s a conundrum for the boy: If he turns in

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