Jojo Rabbit Movie Poster

Trivia for Jojo Rabbit

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  • The screenplay was written in 2011. That puts it in between Boy (2010) and What We Do in the Shadows (2014) in the chronology of Taika Waititi-penned films.
  • When Taika Waititi, who is Maori/Jewish, was asked about why he chose to play the role of Adolf Hitler, he said "The answer's simple, what better 'fuck you' to the guy?"
  • Received an 'A' CinemaScore rating by first-weekend audiences.
  • Taika Waititi described the film as a love letter to his mother, and single parents everywhere: "It wasn't until I was a grown up and I had kids of my own that I realized 'oh, these parent people, they make a lot of sacrifices, it's really hard raising a kid!'"
  • Taika Waititi discovered in his research that WWII Germany was very vibrant and fashionable, and was interested in shying away from traditional war films showing it as dreary and dark, instead presenting the town as a seemingly celebratory place and dressing characters as stylishly as possible. He liked the idea that everything seems happy, but just underneath the surface "the third Reich is crumbling, and, you know, the dream is over."
  • Even though the spoken dialogue is all in English, all written or printed text in the movie is in German.
  • Winner of the Audience Award at the 30th Stockholm International Film Festival (SIFF) in 2019.
  • Stephen Merchant said he imagined members of the Gestapo like his character as "quite petty bureaucrats" who, prior to the war received little respect, and during the war let their power go to their heads.
  • Elsa refers to Hitler as "pathetic little man who can't even grow a full moustache". Hitler actually had a full moustache until WW1 when he had to cut it back in order to wear a gas mask. This shorter version became his imfamous moustache.
  • Mel Brooks, the creator of The Producers (1967), praised the film in his speech at the AFI awards in Jan 2020: "I just saw Jojo Rabbit (2019), and it's really a terrific and eloquent and beautiful picture."
  • The Bund Deutscher Mädel in der Hitler-Jugend (League of German Girls or BDM) was the female branch of the Hitler Youth (Hitlerjugend: HJ). The BDM was founded in 1930 that, at first, consisted of two sections of the Jungmädel (Young Girls League) for girls from 10 to 14 years of age and the League for Girls from 14 to 18 years of age. A third section was introduced in 1938, the BDM-WerK Glaube und Schönheit (BDM: Society for Belief and Beauty), a voluntary organization for young women between 17 and 21 years of age.
  • Sam Rockwell said that in addition to having a dialogue coach to learn the accent, he watched classical and veteran actors like Marlon Brando, Ralph Fiennes, and Oskar Werner portray World War II-era Germans, and then decided that ultimately his character would be more like Bill Murray or Walter Matthau with a German accent.
  • Winner of the 'Golden Bicycle' for Best Film in the 'Together Again' Section of the 17th Zagreb Film Festival (ZFF), Croatia, in 2019.
  • This film marks the third year in a row that Sam Rockwell appears in a film nominated for 'Best Picture' after Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) and Vice (2018).
  • John Boorman's semi-autobiographical Hope and Glory (1987) had a similar concept of showing WWII events through the perspective of a kid, but that character was an apolitical civilian British boy, not a German boy from the fascist 'Hitlerjugend', so this story deals with the polar opposite.
  • Sam Rockwell and Scarlett Johansson appeared in Iron Man 2 (2010) together.
  • Regarding the visual style, Waititi wanted something bright and colorful as most films covering this period are often desaturated with dull tones. "I wanted to show something that was actually a bit more authentic to the colors of the time. Germany was the height of fashion and design and textiles."
  • Waititi uses storyboards sporadically. "It really depends. If there's quite a few actors then I will start boarding everything and figuring it out beforehand, and then if not, if it's something that's relatively simple I'll make it up on the day."
  • According to Taika Waititi the forest scenes were filmed in the Czech Republic, and it "was full of weird European bugs, and I was in a fat suit for the entire shoot."
  • Stephen Merchant had never done accents before as an actor, so he worked with a voice coach until he was confident with his effort. He was still nervous performing, though, until day two of filming when he grew more comfortable with the cast around him.
  • Taika Waititi doesn't like to give a lot of direction to actors. "I don't feel it's necessary if someone knows the words and can say them relatively fast and not maybe feel like they're 'acting'."
  • "There was a lot of time, just me chilling in Prague," said Rebel Wilson (Fraulein Rahm), who was in the city for a month but only shot for seven days.
  • The film is based on Christine Leunens's novel Caging Skies, a book that Waititi's mom loved before turning him onto it as well. "Imaginary Hitler is not in the book," he adds, although the rest of the story's main characters are.
  • Taika Waititi has known Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa) since she was "very, very little" as he's friends with her parents, from New Zealand's theater scene. He tasked her with watching Heathers (1989) to give her the vibe he was looking for with the character.
  • One of Taika Waititi's reasons for making the film was the realization that after World War II people cried that "we should never forget," but given the behavior of "certain people in certain parts of the world," it felt to him like we are forgetting.
  • Taika Waititi wore a fat suit while portraying Adolf Hitler.
  • Rebel Wilson suggested that anyone listening to the commentary both loves the film and is excited to hear all the juicy behind-the-scenes production details. "I've basically given no information about anything so far," added Waititi, telling no lies.
  • In the scene where Jojo discovers Elsa, his sister Inge's ballet slippers are shown with her name inscribed on them. This follows the theme of focusing on shoes throughout the film.
  • The small propaganda papers that Rosie distributes say "Befreit Deutschland - Bekaempft die Partei" - in English, "Free Germany - Fight the Party" (meaning the Nazi Party).
  • Several of the actors have played major characters in Marvel Movies. Scarlet Johansson was Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in multiple films; Taika Waititi (who also directed the film) is the character Korg in Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Endgame; Sam Rockwell is Justin Hammer in Iron Man Two; and Stephen Merchant played Caliban in the X-Men spin-off film, Logan.
  • Taika Waititi did no research about Hitler, saying that he is a "f*cking c*nt".
  • Captain Klenzendorf is introduced listing off how easily preventable the mistake that got him demoted was, expresses the belief Germany is fighting a losing battle, and generally appears to take his job with little to no seriousness. The fact he's secretly a token good teammate makes it pretty clear he was probably doing this on purpose as a means of protesting the party he doesn't support.

Spoilers

  • In one scene, the Adolf Hitler character appears in a traditional Native American headdress. Hitler was a fan of German writer Karl May, whose most famous books were supposed autobiographical tales set in the American west featuring an Apache man named Winnetou. May's books fostered a fascination in Germany for Native Americans.
  • The opening song is "Komm, gib mir deine Hand", the German language version of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand", released on 4 February 1964 in Germany. The closing song is the German version of David Bowie's "Heroes", released in 1977, which is about two lovers separated by the Berlin Wall.
  • Towards the end you see both Soviet and American troops policing up Jojo's hometown shortly after Hitler's suicide. In reality, the western allies stopped at the Elbe River, and would not have jointly occupied any German territory at the time of Germany's surrender. (Allied troops would not have entered West Berlin until several months later.)
  • In the scene when the Gestapo comes to Jojo's house "Heil Hitler" is said 31 times in one minute, according to Waititi. He wanted a funny moment, but also wanted to illustrate how ridiculous Nazi protocols were.
  • Elsa said that her fiancee Nathan proposed to her at the banks of the Fluss. "Fluss" is the German word for "river", which indicates that the city where the story takes place is not specified.
  • The Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth: H.J.) was the paramilitary organisation for the German youth. Founded in 1922 Munich, Germany and declared illegal and a criminal organisation after the fall of the Third Reich. The Hitler Youth was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi organisation whose original name being Jungsturm Adolf Hitler with the idea of recruiting and training future members of the Sturmabteilung (Stormtroopers: SA).
  • The large poster of Adolf Hitler with the young Aryan boy in the foreground, in Jojo's bedroom, roughly reads: "Youth serves the leader. All ten-year olds in the H.J." translated from "Jugend dient dem Führer--Alle Zehnjährigen in die HJ" and first printed in Berlin, Presse- und Propagandaamt der Reichsjugendführung in 1941.
  • Jojo's Jungvolk cap emblem has no black border whereas the other male attendees' caps do.
  • The various military decorations that Captain Klenzendorf wears in the film indicate that he's an heroic combat veteran and not just some administrator or incompetent who's been assigned to babysit the Hitler Youth, to get him out of the way. He has both the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd class (both awarded for personal acts of heroism), a bronze close combat clasp (signifying that he's fought in a minimum of 15 hand-to-hand engagements), a silver tank destruction badge (awarded for individually destroying an enemy tank with a hand-held weapon), and a gold wound badge (meaning that he's been wounded in combat at least 5 times).
  • At multiple points in the movie Rosie is seen dancing yet her upper body isn't shown. Instead, the camera frame shoots her feet, with particular notice to her red and white leather shoes. This foreshadows the scene where Jojo finds his mother hanged in the town square in which he looks up to see her shoes and her dead body.
  • At one point, Hitler reminds Jojo about the plot by Von Stauffenberg to kill him, calling him "that pirate". This is a reference to Von Stauffenberg having lost an eye and a hand after being wounded in war, so he frequently wore an eye patch.
  • The uniforms Hitler wears throughout the movie are consistent chronologically with his life in power and also reflect how Jojo changes his opinion of him, which also serves as a reflection of the Germans increasing disenchantment. At the beginning he is wearing the SA Brown Shirts uniform, worn during his rise to power, and Jojo idolizes him. He next appears in the official NSDAP uniform, which he wore after becoming chancellor. By this point, Jojo's idolization has become wild fanaticism. In the end, he appears wearing the field gray wartime uniform, and his last scene, when Jojo openly rejects him, he is wearing the gray tunic Hitler wore in his final public appearance, before committing suicide.
  • In their last appearance together onscreen, Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) and Finkel (Alfie Allen) are both seen with pink triangles on their uniforms. This references the relationship suggested between the two of them throughout the film, as Nazis would mark the clothes of gay men with pink triangles.
  • After Jojo first meets Elsa, Jojo is shown talking to Rosie while holding a violin bow somewhat like a sword. In Caging Skies, Johannes' sister is described as having played the violin.
  • The quote at the end is from Rainer Maria Rilke's poem "Go to the Limits of Your Longing". The Austrian poet and novelist Rilke (1875-1926) wrote in the German and French language, so the quote is from a translation.
  • Throughout the movie Adolf Hitler offered Jojo cigarettes. In real life he hated cigarettes. He did not allow others to smoke around him.
  • Despite not being a full-on war movie, all of the German equipment seen, both carried and vehicles, are genuine German gear. No mocked-up non-German vehicles are used ever during the film.
  • In the scene with the Gestapo doing a walk through in Jojo's house, Stephen Merchant stood on a box to make himself even taller than Sam Rockwell in a close up of just the two of them. It was for comic effect and to show his character's intimidating nature.
  • "I don't like the idea of seeing people hang," Waititi said, and that's what led in part to the reveal of Rosie's death without showing her face. He added that seeing your dead loved one is an intimate thing, and that we didn't "have permission" to see what Jojo saw.
  • Early drafts showed Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell) as very proud in his introductory speech, but Waititi changed it because he felt the man should be more disillusioned. He was also originally written to be hanged in the end, but Waititi changed it, as we had already seen Jojo's mother hanged.
  • David Bowie's "Heroes" was in the script's ending from the very beginning. It "felt like an appropriate song to end the film on," Taika Waititi said, adding that in addition to its themes, the song also feels right as it was recorded in Berlin. Elsa's hiding place in the house was one of the last remnants of Nazi Germany for the film, so her leaving the house signifies her escape and the song complements that journey.
  • Waititi originally planned on doing the stunt himself when Hitler is kicked through the window, but he instead went with a professional stunt person.
  • The film starts with the German version of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold your Hand." The main character's name Jojo is also derived from one of the Beatles' songs, "Get Back."
  • Captain Klenzendorf is implied throughout the film to be gay, which could explain why he vouches for Elsa in the Gestapo scene. Jewish and homosexual people were both targeted by the Nazis in the Holocaust, so he was in a similar situation to her and likely saw it as a duty to protect a fellow discriminated person.
  • Gestapo agent Deertz says JoJo may have heard that Hitler only has one ball. This is a reference to the period British comedy propaganda song "Hitler Has Only Got One Ball," which was very popular among Allied troops.
  • As JoJo walks around town after Hitler tells him to start acting his age, he sees citizens (Volksturm) learning to use the Panzerfaust, a hand-held anti-tank weapon that was very easy to operate and deadly against Allied tanks and other armored vehicles during the invasion of Germany in 1945.
  • During the fighting at the end of the film, Yorki drops a Panzerschreck, an anti-tank rocket launcher equivalent to an American bazooka.
  • When Jojo is posting propaganda fliers, the image of Hitler's face changes as he moves his hand across it. Half of the face changes to director Taika Waititi as Hitler then back to the original picture.
  • With each succeeding scene between Hitler and Jojo, Hitler is less lovable and playful toward Jojo until he is wounded/drunk in their last scene together before their ultimate falling out, symbolizing both how the war was going for Nazi Germany and Jojo's growing disillusionment with the regime.
  • Deetz introduces his group at Jojo's door as being part of the Falkenheim Gestapo. This places the events of the story in the southern suburbs of Nuremburg, Germany.
  • Jojo's sister Inge's birthday is May 7th, the same day Germany signed the first articles of surrender to the Allied forces in Reims.
  • Several lingering shots focus intently on Rosie's distinctive shoes, most glaringly the scene at the swimming pool where she cavorts on a ledge above Jojo, only her shoes and some of her ankles visible. Jojo discovers his mother's hanged body from the shoes up and the rest of her body not shown, making us only see her from Jojo's eye level.
  • When the Gestapo arrive to search Jojo's house, they ask him if he knows where his mother is, drawing attention to her recent absence. Shortly after, it is revealed that she's been hanged for being part of La Résistance.
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