It appears springtime really is for Hitler this year.
Written and directed by Waititi, who directed the blockbuster Marvel Studios sequel Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit puts Johansson in the role of a young mother hiding a Jewish woman in Nazi Germany during World War II. She is also hiding the woman from her 10-year-old son, a devotee of the Third Reich who has Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend.
Waititi will play the imaginary Hitler. The director previously demonstrated his comedic acting chops as Korg, the scene stealing Kronan stone man, in Thor: Ragnarock.
As strange as it sounds, Jojo Rabbit will continue a tradition of Nazi comedies that goes back to Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator in 1940 and continues through the decades, all the way up to Netflix offering Look Who’s Back (Er Ist Wieder Da), a 2016 Borat-style comedy featuring an actor dressed as Hitler interacting with real people in modern Germany.
Watch the Look Who’s Back trailer below.
Other comedic Nazi films include My Führer – The Really Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler, about a depressed Hitler working with a Jewish tutor to prepare a 1945 New Year’s speech; Jerry Lewis’s Which Way to the Front? from 1970; and, of course, Hamptonite Mel Brooks‘ 1967 film—later made into a Broadway hit—The Producers, a more meta Nazi comedy about a washed-up Broadway producer’s efforts to defraud his backers and make a guaranteed flop: Springtime for Hitler: A Gay Romp with Adolf and Eva at Berchtesgaden.
According to Variety, with Johansson signed on to Jojo Rabbit, Waititi will now go about casting a young actor to play her son. Production is slated to begin, appropriately, in the spring.