Jojo Rabbit ‘Is Going to Piss Off a Lot of Racists’: Taika Waititi Is Playing … Who? *Updated with Release Date

(Editor’s note:  This piece was originally published June 1, 2018)

Taika Waititi is one of our favorite directors, actors, people on the planet … and as he finishes any project, the world anxiously awaits whatever’s next. Not only are his movies sheer delight (television, too), but the man has personality oozing from his every pore, so everything he does while creating and promoting also leaves us anticipating.

I don’t think anyone was expecting this.

No, he’s not playing Thor.

Nope, not a ninja, either.

Taika’s next movie role is something utterly unexpected.

 Set during WWII and loosely based on Christine Leunens’ Caging SkiesJojo Rabbit is the tale of a young boy caught up in his patriotic beliefs, which are tested when he discovers his family harbors a dangerous secret. Played by newcomer, Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo has an imaginary friend he often turns to — his vision of Adolph Hitler, as played by … yup, your friend and mine:

Okay, okay, but this being Taika, I’m pretty sure it will be … okay. As Waititi promises, this satire will clearly demonstrate his anti-Nazi status.

I’m stoked to begin shooting my anti-war satire. 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.”

Filming is currently underway in Prague, Czech Republic and oh, by the by, Jojo Rabbit does indeed have an excellent cast, including Scarlett Johansson as Jojo’s single mother,

Sam Rockwell as a Nazi Captain Klenzendorf, who runs a Hitler youth camp,

and Rebel Wilson as Fraulein Rahm.

With the screenplay by Waititi, and also starring Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit just bumped itself to the top of your must see list.

And, in case you have any questions about Taika’s stance on racism, please to enjoy this fabulous short.


Updated:  June 2, 2018

Via Waititi’s Twitter, here’s the glorious first photo of Taika in costume.

Week one down of our anti-fuckface satire, Jojo Rabbit. Can’t wait to share it with the world. Also, what better way to insult Hitler than having him portrayed by a Polynesian Jew?”

*Updated June 15, 2018:

Game of Thrones‘ Alfie Allen aka Theon Greyjoy has joined JoJo Rabbit as Captain Klenzendorf’s (Rockwell) second in command, Finkel.

Though we’ve rather gotten used to seeing Allen’s Theon as a victim over the past several years, I’ll have no problem seeing him as a militant Nazi.

*Updated May 14, 2019

Taika Waititi announced JoJo Rabbit’s October 18, 2019 release date thusly:

Here’s a shot of Stephen Merchant in character as Gestapo agent, Captain Deertz:

A couple of intriguing set photos have made their way online:

Photos by Kimberly French via Fox Searchlight

Race you to the theater!


Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis has been writing about the entertainment industry for ​over ten years, and is the ​Editor-in-Chief at Oohlo, where she muses over television, movies, and pop culture. Previous Senior News Editor at Pajiba, and published at BUST.

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