Still riding high after the success of his 2017 Marvel Cinematic Universe standout Thor: Ragnarok, writer-director Taika Waititi is taking a big, bold swing with Jojo Rabbit, his anti-hate satire for Fox Searchlight coming in October. The World War II film’s first full trailer, released Tuesday, offers a longer look at Jojo Rabbit’s namesake, a young German boy forced to examine his nationalistic outlook with the “help” of his imbecilic imaginary friend: none other than Adolf Hitler, as portrayed by Waititi himself.
Newcomer Roman Griffin Davis makes his screen debut as Jojo, a timid 10-year-old who just wants to please his single mother (Scarlett Johansson), fit in with his friends (namely fellow newcomer Archie Yates’ adorably bumbling Yorki), impress his Hitler Youth superiors (including Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson and Alfie Allen) and be the best Nazi he can be—“I wish more of our young boys had your blind fanaticism,” gushes Stephen Merchant’s looming Gestapo agent. But Jojo and his imaginary BFFührer are thrown for a loop after discovering Jojo’s mother has taken in a young Jewish girl (Thomasin McKenzie). As he discovers that the Other he’s been taught to fear and loathe his entire life isn’t his enemy at all, but rather just a normal person like him, Jojo is forced to reexamine everything he’s been taught, undoubtedly coming away with a sorely needed takeaway for our times. “It’s definitely not a good time to be a Nazi,” Yorki concludes at trailer’s end—let’s hope he’s right.
Ahead of its Oct. 18 release, Jojo Rabbit will make its world premiere at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival, where Waititi will also receive an award for his outstanding contribution to cinema. The Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows filmmaker adapted Jojo Rabbit’s script from Christine Leunens’ 2008 novel Caging Skies. In a lesser director’s hands, this film would be a disaster waiting to happen; in Waititi’s, it looks like nothing short of a lovely, life-affirming blast.
Watch the new Jojo Rabbit trailer below and revisit a previous teaser for the film here.