Taika Waititi has revealed how he approached playing a character based on Hitler in his new film Jojo Rabbit, before issuing an important clarification on Twitter.
The new film tells the story of Jojo, a ten-year-old German boy obsessed with the Nazi Party during the height of the Third Reich.
Waititi plays the boy's imaginary friend: Hitler.
Speaking to Deadline magazine, Waititi detailed his method for playing the character: "he's not really Hitler. He's like a 10-year-old kid's version of Hitler.
So he doesn't have to share anything with actual Hitler, because 10 year-olds never meet Hitler. He's basically a 10-year-old who happens to have a tiny little mustache.
I didn't have to do any research, and I didn't do any research. I just made him a version of myself that happened to have a bad haircut and a sh***y little mustache. And a mediocre German accent.
It would just be too weird to play the actual Hitler, and I don't think people would enjoy the character as much. Because he was such a f***ing ****, and everyone knows that as well. I think people have got to relate to really enjoy the ride."
Waititi went on to describe how the reserved Kiwi sense of humour helped him not to cross the line in making Jojo Rabbit: "If there's any time I feel like something is inappropriate I pull back. That's the other thing you'll find about New Zealand stuff, is that we're not inappropriate or really provoking.
We don't really tend to do that. We're not into shock value; it's polite comedy is what I'd say New Zealand comedy is. We don't want to insult people too much, we don't want to push it too far. We're just too embarrassed and shy for that."
After another media outlet tweeted out a quick take on his comments, Waititi took to Twitter to issue an important correction:
Not shy of controversy, Waititi is also working on Bubbles, an animated film that follows the career of Michael Jackson through the eyes of his pet chimpanzee.