Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi may have had a brief cameo in this year’s Avengers: Endgame, but the native New Zealander hasn’t been sticking solely to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He produced FX’s adaptation of his comedy mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, which he also directed two episodes of and recently cameoed in. He’s even working on a serial version of Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits for Apple’s forthcoming streaming efforts. And then there’s playing Adolf Hitler in his new film Jojo Rabbit.
Yes, that’s right. Waititi is playing a version of Nazi Germany’s dictator in a surreal-sounding “anti-war satire” that also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie and Roman Griffin. The movie won’t be in theaters until October 18th, but Waititi was more than happy to discuss it in a recent interview with Deadline. In fact, he offered a perfect explanation for how one prepares to play Hitler on the big screen:
I didn’t have to do any research, and I didn’t do any research. I didn’t base him on anything I’d seen about Hitler before. I just made him a version of myself that happened to have a bad haircut and a sh*tty little mustache. And a mediocre German accent.
It would just be too weird to play the actual Hitler, and I don’t think people would enjoy the character as much. Because he was such a f*cking c**t, and everyone knows that as well. I think people have got to relate to really enjoy the ride.
Then again, as the director and actor explained further, Jojo Rabbit‘s Hitler isn’t really Hitler. “He’s like a 10 year-old kid’s version of Hitler. So he doesn’t have to share anything with actual Hitler, because 10 year-olds never meet Hitler,” said Waititi. “He’s basically a 10 year-old who happens to have a tiny little mustache.”
As his comments about playing the infamous totalitarian began circulating online, Waititi made sure to clarify what he’d meant in a couple of tweets.