Expected to go into production in late May, the film follows a 10-year-old boy who, influenced by Nazi propaganda, dreams of serving alongside Adolf Hitler during World War II. Because of this Hitler obsession and feelings of sadness due to an absent father, the boy invents an imaginary friend version of Hitler — played none other than Waititi.
“It’s my version of… a lonely boy’s best version of his hero, which is really his dad,” Waititi told TheWrap. A character description further reassures that the boy’s imaginary Hitler pal is not meant to be some kind of sympathetic depiction of the German dictator. “This is not the Adolf we know and hate, this guy is goofy, charming, and glides through life with a child-like naivety,” the description reads. Such a characterization should come easily to Waititi, whose comedic voice work in Thor: Ragnarok proved to be one of the film’s major highlights.
Here’s the official synopsis for Jojo Rabbit:
JOJO RABBIT, by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), blends his signature humor, pathos, and deeply compelling characters in a World War II satire about a ten-year-old boy who, ridiculed by his peers and misunderstood by his mother, can’t quite figure out how to fit in. As the naïve young German struggles to understand his place in an increasingly Fascist regime, he resorts to an imaginary friend who can offer advice and help him cope.
Jojo Rabbit originally popped up on the 2012 Black List of Hollywood’s best un-produced scripts. It’s expected to be one of the first Fox Searchlight projects since 21st Century Fox was acquired by Disney in a blockbuster deal late last year.
In addition to Jojo Rabbit, Waititi and Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement are working on three (!) seperate projects inspired by his 2014 vampire mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows.