Sam Rockwell Jojo Rabbit

Sam Rockwell won an Oscar earlier this year for his portrayal of a violent and racist cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, but the actor isn’t taking the usual post-Oscar path. Instead of using his newfound clout to take a starring role in another prestige picture, an action vehicle, or a superhero movie, his next gig will see him play a supporting role in a twisted comedy from the mind of Taika Waititi, the director of films like Thor: Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Read more about the Sam Rockwell Jojo Rabbit casting below.

The Hollywood Reporter says Rockwell will co-star in Jojo Rabbit, Waititi’s new movie that sounds both completely unexpected and yet somehow exactly in line with the filmmaker’s tastes. Jojo Rabbit is a satire of Nazi Germany that centers on a ten-year-old boy who yearns to be part of the Hitler Youth. Bullied by his peers, the boy spends his time with his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler (to be played by Waititi himself). He learns that a young Jewish girl is being hidden in his attic, and according to THR, “after initially trying to find ways to get rid of her, [he] begins to see her as human.”

Scarlett Johansson is playing the boy’s mother, who’s secretly working for the Resistance and is responsible for hiding the girl in their home. Rockwell will reportedly play a Nazi captain who runs a Hitler Youth camp. Waititi is writing, directing, and starring.

Weirdly, this isn’t the only production to attempt to paint Hitler in something of a sympathetic light recently. One storyline in the second season of AMC’s Preacher involved a character who befriends Hitler (Noah Taylor) in hell. That show didn’t let him off the hook for his unspeakable crimes, but it did attempt to graft a bit of humanity onto him. Waititi’s movie, however, seems like it’ll be slightly goofier – or at least more outlandish, especially with him stepping into the role himself.

It’s strange to say that an actor seems like a good fit for playing a Nazi, but considering the circumstances here, I feel like Rockwell will jibe well with Waititi’s sense of humor and improvisational style. It’s telling that he’s chosen this as his follow-up to his Oscar-winning performance, because it signals his intentions to remain committed to material that speaks to him, regardless of the size of the role or the paycheck involved. It’s good news for those of us who have been fans of the character actor for years and were a little wary that he’d maybe try to jump into his own Taken-style franchise or something as a result of his boost in popularity.

Bonus: Jojo Rabbit will be a nice little reunion between Rockwell and Johansson, who worked together on Iron Man 2. Filming on this Fox Searchlight production is expected to get underway in late spring, so we’ll keep you posted on this one when we hear more. Fingers crossed Waititi hired Rockwell for an elaborate Nazi dance sequence, because we know he’s got some serious moves:

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