JoJo Rabbit is one of the funniest, most heartwarming, and yet most tragic movies we’ve seen to date. With Taika Waititi at the helm, it’s unsurprisingly full of laughs, but it actually has a very moving story, with some devastatingly sad moments.
It’s the story of a dedicated Hitler youth named JoJo and his imaginary friend, who just so happens to be the Fuhrer. When he discovers his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in the house, he’s torn between the reich and his family.
Here are 9 things you probably didn’t know about the film…
1) The clones were played by Roman Griffin Davis’ brothers
Fraulein Rahm says JoJo can walk the clones – we then see a bunch of identical blonde haired boys. These ‘clones’ were actually played by the younger identical twin brothers of Roman Griffin Davis, who plays JoJo in the film. Using identical twins meant they had to do less editing later on.
2) Hitler’s Native American headdress
In one scene, Taika Waititi’s Hitler is wearing a Native American Headdress. Hitler was actually a big fan of the work of Karl May – a German author, who wrote stories about the American Wild West. A Native American character featured prominently in the stories.
3) Roman Griffin Davis’ video call audition kept freezing
When Roman Griffin Davis had his first audition for the role of JoJo, he had to do it via a video call with Taika Waititi. Similarly to how a lot of work Zoom calls went over lockdown, the call kept freezing. Clearly that didn’t affect things too badly, however, as Taika Waititi offered Davis the lead part.
4) ‘Bill Murray with a German accent’
When researching the right accent to use for his character, Sam Rockwell watched lots of classic war movies – particularly ones in which esteemed actors such as Marlon Brando played German characters. However, he finally arrived at the conclusion that his character’s voice would basically be Bill Murray with a German accent.
5) Taika Waititi made the film as a much-needed reminder
When he was asked why he was making the film, Taika Waititi replied that after World War II, everyone that suffered through it pleaded for the world to never forget the atrocities that happened, and that all people should learn from the mistakes made before and during the war. Taika said that ‘certain people in certain parts of the world were starting to forget.’ He also said that ‘we need to spread more love and less hate,’ which is the main message of the film.
6) The brightly coloured town
At the start of the film, the town is quite vibrant and colourful. This is because, when he was researching the film, Taika Waititi discovered that Germany was ‘the height of fashion and textiles’. So, he decided to opt for bright colours to create a pleasant, ‘celebratory’ looking town, in contrast to the dark and dreary sets you usually see in films. The town’s palette only changes to grey when the battle with the Allies starts, and it’s very colourful again once the battle is over.
7) Imaginary Hitler is the only character absent in the book
JoJo Rabbit is based on the novel Caging Skies by Christine Leunens. Whilst all the main characters of the film are present in the book, one key component was absent – imaginary Hitler. Taika Waititi added JoJo’s imaginary Fuhrer himself when penning the screenplay.
8) The screenplay for JoJo Rabbit was written back in 2011
Most Taika Waititi fans will have fallen in love with the director via either 2014’s What We Do In The Shadows or 2016’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Surprisingly, although it was released in 2019, he actually penned JoJo Rabbit years before either of those two films came out. He wrote the screenplay for JoJo Rabbit way back in 2011.
9) Taika Watititi purposefully didn’t research Hitler before playing him
Taika Waititi has said that he didn’t think Hitler was worth taking the time to research for his role, and that he wanted to play him as inaccurately as possible. But, on the comedic side of his portrayal, he did say, ‘what better a ‘f**k you’ to the guy?’