Taika Waititi, Scarlett Johansson to Shoot New Movie in Prague

With the new Spider-Man sequel and Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot planning to shoot in Prague this summer, major Hollywood productions are coming back to the Czech capital in a big way. 

Here’s another: Jojo Rabbit, a WWII satire and the latest project from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi. The New Zealand filmmaker previously directed and starred in films such as What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople before his Marvel hit, which grossed more than $850 million at the global box office. 

Following Thor, Waititi has been connected to a number of high-profile blockbusters, including the long-gestating remake of Akira, which he is also set to direct. 

But the filmmaker has made it clear that Jojo Rabbit, described as a passion project, will be his next feature. Waititi will direct the film from his own screenplay, and also take on a featured role… as an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler. 

Set in Berlin during World War II, Jojo Rabbit tells the story of a ten-year-old German boy struggling to cope with life during the Nazi regime who invents an imaginary friend to help him escape the real world horrors: an amalgamation of his own father and Hitler, to be played by the director. 

“This is not the Adolf we know and hate, this guy is goofy, charming, and glides through life with a childlike naivety,” a character description from the film states, as reported by The Wrap

The young boy’s loyalties become tested when he discovers his mother is hiding a teenage Jewish girl within their home. 

Last month, actress Scarlett Johansson reportedly joined the cast of the movie, presumably playing the young boy’s mother. 

Jojo Rabbit is slated to begin production in Prague on May 28, with the Czech capital filling in for WWII-era Germany. Currently, it’s the only shooting location listed for the movie. 

Prep work is currently underway in the Czech Republic, with director Waititi in the country scouting locations. 

Filming in Prague will be coordinated by the local agency Czech Anglo Productions. As of last month, the production was still looking to cast the lead role. 

Jojo Rabbit will be produced by Fox Searchlight under heads of production Matthew Greenfield and David Greenbaum. 

Here’s the official synopsis: 

Jojo Rabbit, by Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Hunt for the Wilderpeople), blends his signature humor, pathos, and deeply compelling characters in a World War II satire about a ten-year-old boy who, ridiculed by his peers and misunderstood by his mother, can’t quite figure out how to fit in. As the naïve young German struggles to understand his place in an increasingly Fascist regime, he resorts to an imaginary friend who can offer advice and help him cope.

Lead image: Waititi at the 2017 Comicon in San Diego via Wikimedia / Gage Skidmore, Johansson at the 2017 premiere of Ghost in the Shell in Tokyo via Wikimedia / Dick Thomas Johnson


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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