Taika Waititi is an exceptionally talented and well-known filmmaker. Having made a name for himself as an incredibly diverse and versatile individual, he is not only a filmmaker but also an actor, producer, writer, and comedian. He has been part of some extremely successful projects, with Thor: Love and Thunder, Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do in the Shadows, and Free Guy being excellent examples, that showcase his abilities as a filmmaker, creating some of the most hilarious films ever made.
One of his most successful films to this date has to be his 2019 film, Jojo Rabbit, starring Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Not only was Waititi responsible for the direction, production, and screenplay, but he also featured in the movie as one of the most hated historical figures of all time, Adolf Hitler. One might ask why a director would put themselves in a situation of getting hate for playing a dictator such as this, but it would seem that Waititi had no other option.
Taika Waititi Could Not Get Anyone To Play Hitler In Jojo Rabbit
During an interview with GQ, Taika Waititi talked about all of the most iconic films and characters throughout his career. When it came time to talk about Jojo Rabbit, the actor spoke on the process of adding Adolf Hilter into the film, as well as the process of casting this character and how he ultimately settled on playing him himself. He revealed that when he started with this film, he had no intention of playing the character himself, however, circumstances led him to have no other option. He elaborated, stating that when he was making this film initially, before working with the MCU, the framework when it comes to films such as this was a lot more different.
“Now this was about 2011 and we started to send it out to different people. I don’t think a lot of actors even got to look at the script. Basically, I think a lot of agents were like ‘Hell no am I sending this to my client. There is no f*cking way in hell. I’m not gonna ruin my client’s career by making him play Hitler.’ So I don’t think a lot of people actually got to see it. And we were going to these actors because at the time, you know, to make a film like this, you needed A-Listers. You needed big names to be able to sell these films.”
Having big-name, A-list actors was almost a requirement when it came to making a film. So, casting a famous celebrity in a role like this was very difficult as not many actors ended up reading the scripts. The reason for this was the fact that agents did not want their clients to even consider taking up a part like this as it would basically be career suicide. They would immediately reject the project, making it difficult for Waititi to move forward with the project.
Taika Waititi Had To Play Hitler To Make Jojo Rabbit
After this kept happening, Taika Waititi eventually gave up and let go of making this film for a while. After making Thor and What We Do in the Shadows, the cinematic scene changed quite a lot and he realized that you no longer needed big-name actors to make your films successful, you only needed good scripts. So, Waititi decided to make the film again, this time, there was a condition, however.
“By the time I came back to it, the whole cinematic landscape had changed and you didn’t need A-Listers to sell your film anymore, you actually just needed good films. So I picked up the script and they said ‘We wanna make it, on one condition, that you play Hitler.’” He went on, “I had no intention of playing that character when I wrote it. Look at me, I’m a brown supermodel, okay? It doesn’t make any sense.”
The condition that was put forth of him was that the only way this film would be made is if Waititi played Hitler himself, something he had no intention of while writing the script of the movie. While the filmmaker was confused at first, he understood the reasoning behind this, if a big-name actor were to play the role of a character who does not appear for long, it would take way from the actual story of the movie. It was good that he made this decision as the film went on to win an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.