VOTD: Taika Waititi And Stephen Merchant Break Down The 'Jojo Rabbit' Gestapo Scene

Put Taika Waititi and Stephen Merchant in a room together, and what do you get? Pure comedic chaos, as the Jojo Rabbit director and his star exchange jokes, draw mustaches on each other, and swing unpredictably from jokey banter to serious filmmaking conversations in a Vanity Fair scene breakdown — much like the tone of Waititi's World War II satire itself. But watch this Jojo Rabbit scene breakdown long enough and you'll see Merchant and Waititi get serious about the heartfelt themes at the center of this film, and address the criticisms that have been lobbied against the Nazi comedy.

Jojo Rabbit Scene Breakdown

Vanity Fair's scene breakdowns, when filmmakers give a behind-the-scenes explanation of a specific sequence from their films, can usually be illuminating or amusing. But rare is the one where you get both at the same time. But it's fitting that it would be the breakdown for Jojo Rabbit, as Waititi and Merchant are two of the funniest people working today, and the film itself — a "anti-hate" satire that follows a young German boy whose imaginary friend is Adolph Hitler — walks that very tonal tightrope.

Waititi and Merchant break down the scene late in the film when the Gestapo, led by Merchant's agent Deertz, enter Jojo's (Roman Griffin Davis) house and begin tearing it apart. At times Waititi will dive into deeply technical explanations of his film, praising cinematographer Mihai M?laimare Jr. and launching into lengthy explanations about maintaining the tricky balance between comedy and drama. But soon Waititi and Merchant will get caught up in a bit, drawing hot pink mustaches on Merchant's character or polka dots on Alfie Allen.

But the most interesting part of the video is when Merchant brings up the criticism that has been lobbied against this film, defending Waititi's use of comedy to break down hateful institutions and bringing up the long history of movies that have mocked Hitler. Waititi agreed, saying, "What irks me is that people think comedy is not an effective tool or it's not something to be taken to be taken seriously as an art form. It's one of the most powerful tools that we have to fight against oppression and bigotry and oppression."

The entire scene breakdown — which admittedly is cut short because of Waititi and Merchant's extended jokes — is worth a watch, as is Jojo Rabbit, playing in theaters now.