Scarlett Johansson had lengthy talks with director Taika Waititi to fully understand her role in his new movie Jojo Rabbit.
The offbeat comedy, written and directed by the New Zealand filmmaker, follows the story of young boy Jojo, who has Adolf Hitler as his imaginary friend and later finds out that his mother Rosie, played by Johansson, is hiding a Jewish girl from the Nazis in their attic.
The 34-year-old wanted to make her character a beacon of light in the otherwise depressing backdrop to the film’s story and had plenty of discussions with Waititi to ensure she got the role of Rosie just right.
“We talked a lot about what Rosie’s life was before, because she’s a very vivacious person I really wanted her to feel like she was in the middle of her life when this war starts and these atrocities occur – like everyone. We wanted her to feel like she had a purpose beyond this,” Johansson told Cinema Blend.
She confessed that her sometimes over-the-top scenes with her on-screen son Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis, were inspired by Sally Bowles from the film Cabaret, which was also set during World War II.
“I kind of imagined her as like sort of a Sally Bowles kind of character, that she was into vaudeville, as you said, and lived a really fancy life, an interesting Bohemian life in Paris,” Johansson said of Rosie. “She has a lot of light and life in her.”
Jojo Rabbit, which also stars Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, Rebel Wilson and Stephen Merchant, is in cinemas now.
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