"Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi will star in his upcoming movie "Jojo Rabbit" as an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, Waititi told TheWrap.
Waititi's Hitler is an imaginary friend to the protagonist, a 10-year-old boy who is desperate to join the dictator's ranks during World War II. The film won't include a sympathetic depiction of the actual Adolf Hitler -- no surprise there. Rather, the imaginary Hitler in the film will be the invention of a boy who misses his dad, and, confused by Nazi propaganda, imagines a figure who is a combination of his father and the führer.
"It's my version of... a lonely boy's best version of his hero, which is really his dad," Waititi told TheWrap on Wednesday.
"This is not the Adolf we know and hate, this guy is goofy, charming, and glides through life with a child- like naivety," a character description obtained by TheWrap said.
"Jojo," which is eyeing a late May production start, is poised to be one of the first Fox Searchlight releases under new owner Disney.
The indie unit's co-heads of production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum referenced their purchase of the script in a December interview with Vanity Fair, when Disney's acquisition of Searchlight was just a twinkle in Bob Iger's eye.
"We believe in Taika as a filmmaker, and we felt like this was a movie where we can make it on our scale and the right way ... he doesn't have to sand off the edges, doesn't have to change the humor," the men said at the time.
Waititi's voicework was one of the comic highlights of "Thor: Ragnarok." He played the extremely soft-spoken rock creature Korg, who helps Thor escape from the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) and battle to save Asgard from Hela (Cate Blanchett).
Possesses a body made of a durable, silicon-based substance that grants him superhuman strength, stamina, and durability
Here is an early logline for "Jojo Rabbit," when it was included on the 2012 Black List, an annual ranking of Hollywood's best unproduced scripts:
After being severely hurt by a grenade at Hitler youth camp, a prideful and nationalistic ten-year old boy discovers that his mother is hiding a fifteen year old Jewish girl in their house.
Fox Searchlight had no comment beyond the film's current synopsis:
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.
Previously a cult favorite for writing, directing, producing and starring in"What We Do in the Shadows," Waititi emerged as a massive creative and financial force after directing "Thor: Ragnarok" last year. The Chris Hemsworth franchise, in which has earned close to $855 million at the worldwide box office.