Taika Waititi toned down Jojo Rabbit ‘so young people could watch’

Taika Waititi was determined to tone down Jojo Rabbit so that children would be able to watch it.The satirical World War II movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson, also features a predominantly young cast, due to the titular …

Taika Waititi was determined to tone down Jojo Rabbit so that children would be able to watch it.

The satirical World War II movie, starring Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and Rebel Wilson, also features a predominantly young cast, due to the titular character, who is played by 12-year-old Roman Griffin Davis, being a member of the Hitler Youth.

And the New Zealand filmmaker was keen to ensure that kids the same age as his cast members would be able to engage with the critically acclaimed movie.

“We made a real effort to make the film PG, so that young people could see it,” he told Variety. “Roman Griffin Davis showed the film to a bunch of his classmates back in London, and one of his friends said, ‘This is a film about a kid learning to think for himself.’

“And I think that’s really the ultimate goal, to try and influence people into thinking for themselves, and also thinking from the perspective of tolerance and love.”

The movie, which follows the story of Jojo as he discovers his mother has been hiding a Jewish girl in their attic, has recently been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

And Waititi was full of praise for Johansson, who received a Best Supporting Actress nod for her portrayal of Jojo’s mother Rosie.

“She was incredible and brought something to it that really elevated the whole thing to a level that I’d never even considered,” he said. “And I think that it’s probably the best version of Scarlett that I’ve ever seen.”

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Taika Waititi had ‘no concerns’ about making Jojo Rabbit

Taika Waititi didn’t have “any worries or concerns” making Jojo Rabbit despite the film’s divisive nature.The Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker wrote, directed, produced and stars in the comedy-drama, which follows Jojo, a young boy who idolises Adolf H…

Taika Waititi didn’t have “any worries or concerns” making Jojo Rabbit despite the film’s divisive nature.

The Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker wrote, directed, produced and stars in the comedy-drama, which follows Jojo, a young boy who idolises Adolf Hitler, as he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their house.

Despite its content, Waititi doesn’t believe his film is actually controversial and had no doubts while making it.

“I haven’t had any worries or concerns making this. A lot of people ask if I should be very nervous. I never really felt nervous at all,” he told Uproxx. “It’s not a controversial film! It’s not massively challenging to people just because it’s got some jokes and me doing Hitler. It’s not a film that’s like bad boy’s cinema. Like, ‘We need boobs.’ Or, ‘Oh yeah, we need all the attention because we’re going to do stuff just for shock value. We want the crazy press.’ No, we don’t. We just don’t like that kind of attention.”

The director also portrayed Hitler as the imaginary friend of Jojo in the film because he was convinced another actor would have “overthought” the part and done “too much research” into the dictator, when that wasn’t required as the depiction of him is “silly”.

“I just realised I didn’t want to do any research on this guy. I was just going to put the moustache on because I’m not playing him. I’m playing a 10-year-old in an adult’s body,” the filmmaker explained.

Jojo Rabbit, which also stars Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, and Sam Rockwell, is in cinemas now.

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Scarlett Johansson had lengthy talks with Taika Waititi about her role in Jojo Rabbit

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 …

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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