Hollywood's biggest names have waltzed down the red carpet at the premiere of Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit at the Toronto International Film Festival today.

Waititi's satirical black comedy sees him play Adolf Hitler in the movie which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Stephen Merchant, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen.

The man himself was in good spirits as he stopped to chat with a contingent of New Zealand journalists and explained he was always going to play a central part in the film.

"Yeah, well …there was never any way I was not going to put myself in my film, was there?" he said.

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Director-writer-producer Taika Waititi attends the premiere for Jojo Rabbit at the Toronto International Film Festival. Photo / AP.
Director-writer-producer Taika Waititi attends the premiere for Jojo Rabbit at the Toronto International Film Festival. Photo / AP.

"So I was always going to do something. It was never planned for me to play that character but it was always the plan to have that character in the film.

"I think it's a very effective way of showing where Jojo's mind is at and his attitude, throughout the whole entire movie.

"Having been raised by a solo mother, he's trying to conjure up some sort of version of a father figure for himself.

"Unfortunately it's combined with one of the biggest idiots ever to walk the planet."

The 44-year-old also told Entertainment Weekly he was conscious of making sure his portrayal of Hitler was a far stretch from the real historical figure.

"I didn't want to portray Hitler in an authentic way," he explained during a visit to the EW and PEOPLE video suite at TIFF.

"I was not prepared to go that deep. Also, because he's an imaginary friend, he's conjured by the mind of a 10-year-old boy, so he is a 10-year-old."

Scarlett Johansson talks to media on the red carpet. Photo / NZ Herald.
Scarlett Johansson talks to media on the red carpet. Photo / NZ Herald.

Meanwhile, Johansson described Waititi's creative process as "playful" but said she was still unsure about what exactly underpins his unique but "totally weird" Kiwi sense of humour.

"No, I absolutely don't (understand the Kiwi sense of comedy). I would never presume to know," said Johansson.

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"Yes, (it's) a bit like Taika, totally weird. But also totally awesome.

"Taika's really playful. I would get one-liners thrown at me, and words and ideas, and I'll take it as far as I can go.

"He's not afraid to really go the distance with stuff."

Rockwell also lauded Waititi's creativity and said his work had the ability to make people think about confronting issues through his ability to merge comedy with serious subject matter.

Sam Rockwell raved about Taika Waititi's creativity. Photo / NZ Herald.
Sam Rockwell raved about Taika Waititi's creativity. Photo / NZ Herald.

"He's amazing. He's very creative. He really colours outside the lines, I mean, he's a very creative guy," said Rockwell. "He's a very, very special artist.

"It's a sneaky way to look at some serious topics by making you laugh and then moving you, I think."

Merchant, best known for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington on The Office and Extras, said he always knew he would connect well with his "cousin from Down Under".

"I knew we'd hit it off when we met and we did," he said. "We just immediately felt really relaxed with each other. We were playing around, goofing around, improvising, and I just felt like he was my cousin from Down Under.

Stephen Merchant said his role in Jojo Rabbit was
Stephen Merchant said his role in Jojo Rabbit was "the call I've been waiting for". Photo / NZ Herald.

"I just thought, Taika wants me to play a Nazi, it's the call I've been waiting for. Some might say it's typecasting -you know, I've got the height and the blonde hair and things."

Merchant also believes the film works on multiple levels and predicts it will make audiences think as well as cry from laughter.

"It was a blast and I thought what was so extraordinary was on the surface it's like 'what, he's making a film that satirizing Hitler?' And yet when you see the finished work it just feels full of such humanity and humour.

"I think it will make people laugh, I think it will bring them to tears. I think it's a really powerful and sadly, still relevant, movie."