JOJO RABBIT – Taika Waititi and Carthew Neal set out on an ambitious challenge with Jojo Rabbit, in theaters January 29, 2020. The director and producer have answered our questions.
Taika Waititi (Thor 3) has embarked on a project as crazy as it is ambitious: to reflect through the prism of comedy on the cogs of indoctrination. This gives Jojo rabbit, an absurd and tender fable set in Nazi Germany during World War II. In his latest film, in theaters this Wednesday, January 29, 2020, the viewer follows a ten-year-old German boy, whose imaginary friend is Adolf Hitler. But his vision of the world will be completely turned upside down when he discovers that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. During their visit to Paris in January, Taika Waititi and Carthew Neal, respectively director and producer of Jojo Rabbit, agreed to answer our questions about the power of humor, as well as the importance of continuing to tell the stories. events of World War II.
Taika Waititi, what made you decide to make this film?
Taika Waititi, director, screenwriter and actor of Jojo Rabbit: I wanted to make a more important film than the ones I had made before. On Jojo Rabbit, I had the impression that there was something to develop about children and the way they perceive the world, especially in times of war. It is something that I had never considered: the behavior of adults is observed, scrutinized and judged by children. And in many cases unfortunately it also influences the adult they become as they grow older. I was responsible for making this film.
And you Carthew Neal, why did you agree to support such a project?
Carthew Neal, producer of Jojo Rabbit: Taika’s script [Waititi, ndlr] was magnificent: I have worked with him before and these works all have this humor and this “heart”. I think all of his films led to Jojo Rabbit. This is one of the most important topics that Taika [Waititi, ndlr] tackled, and I think it was a good time to do so. The world is changing, we see more and more hatred in the world, it was becoming more and more relevant to make this film, unfortunately.
Was Jojo Rabbit complicated to create and produce?
Carthew Neal : All films are hard to edit. And this subject was sensitive. Moreover, Taika playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, he remained very careful when filming. He wasn’t walking the streets, he didn’t want to grow a mustache and wear it every day. He only put her in front of the camera.
Taika waiti : I did not follow the Method.
Carthew Neal : So obviously, throughout the process, we tested the film over and over again to make sure the tone was right and the message clear.
The Second World War took place almost 80 years ago: why is a film about this conflict still relevant today?
Taika Waititi: Some people think that enough WWII films have been made … but last year the Guardian released a study that shows that 41% of Americans and 66% of young Americans don’t know what Auschwitz is, and haven’t heard of the camps. So there are young people who are born, grow up and will rule the world without having any idea what the Holocaust is. That worries me a lot … In France I believe the figures are 12% and it happened near you, however. If these numbers are correct, it is important that we continue to tell these stories, to educate and teach this story, for ourselves and for our children. It is important to us that Jojo Rabbit can be seen by young people. The exchange around the events of the Second World War must continue, we must ensure that everyone remains aware of what happened.
Playing Hitler, was it complicated?
Taika Waititi: (hesitates) It wasn’t really hard to make the accent… and it wasn’t hard to make a clownish character out of him. What was complicated for me was especially the clothes which were very uncomfortable. The boots got there [il montre ses genoux, ndlr] : I had people who had to help me put them on and take them off! I wonder if Hitler needed help too …
Carthew Neal: I am sure it does!
Taika waititi : I think yes … But above all, when you …