Māori legacy had major influence on Jojo Rabbit film - Waititi

updated By Piripi Taylor

You will never find a movie about WW2 like Jojo Rabbit.

Taika Waititi again indulges his passion for working with children to tell a powerful story. "I think what's important about the film is that it's not necessarily just... through the lens of the victims but also through the lens of children who, through no choice of their own, were just lumped into that same barrel as the perpetrators," he says.

The story follows a young German boy in the Nazi army and finds his mother has hidden a Jewish girl in their home.

It's the first major film for young lead actor, Roman Griffin Davis who was coached by the amazing Māori actress Rachel House for the role.

"She was the best," says Griffin. " I mean she kinda taught me how to act, I'm not going to lie."

He quickly adds "and Taika was there, and Taika" patting his director on the shoulder.

You cannot wipe the grin from your face every time Taika pops up to take a massive swipe at the jaw of Adolf Hitler. 

"For me, that was fun, like it was giving Hitler a 10-year-old's brain because that was a nice way for me to make fun of him and lambast him," he says.

The star-studded cast turned out on the red carpet last night for the film's world premiere. 

Sam Rockwell who plays the part of Captain Klenzendorf applauded Waititi efforts.

"Like a lot of great farce, it's a sneaky way to look at some serious topics and then making you laugh and then moving you I think."

"I probably know more about Wellington than Taika at this point," says US actress Scarlett Johansson who plays the loving mother of Jojo.

"I spent a lot of time there filming Ghost in the Shell and then suddenly I was like, you're from Wellington? What are the chances?"

The legacy of the 28 Māori Battalion played a huge part in why Taika pursued this story that was introduced to him by his mum as a child.

"My Koro, he fought in WWII and he fought Nazis and so I've always been obsessed with those stories.

"I've always been obsessed with watching films that, you know depict the various things that happened during WWII but I've never really seen something truly through the eyes of children and also from the German perspective," says Waititi.

Young Kiwi actress Thomasin McKenzie absolutely stacks up with her Hollywood peers in the film.

Jojo Rabbit will leave you hanging with deep emotion while simultaneously have you flying out the window with laughter.