If you’re looking for something wildly different, look no further than Jojo Rabbit.
The evolution of writer-director Taika Waititi is beautifully humble.
After helming a few shorts, the New Zealand filmmaker delivered his directorial feature debut, 2007’s quirky indie comedy Eagle vs Shark. While it didn’t exactly predict the tremendous success of later projects, it encapsulated Taika’s unique sense of humour and charming approach to characterisation and storytelling.
After working on the cult TV series Flight of the Conchords – also starring Jemaine Clement – he gave the world 2010’s Boy, which is pretty much one the loveliest and most touching films about childhood to emerge this decade. It fast became a favourite of many and announced him as a talent to keep an eye on. His next film – 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows – was a hilarious vampire romp which used genre hybridity to breathe new life into the familiar.
Hunt for the Wilderpeople in 2016 was his biggest yet and firmly established its maker as one of today’s most palatable crowdpleasers. A year later he crafted one of the MCU’s most lauded efforts with Thor: Ragnarok. How do you follow that up?
Jojo Rabbit: Thomasin McKenzie
Bigger, more expensive and louder right? Wrong.
After helming a massive blockbuster for Marvel Studios, some suspected that Taika would go on to score bigger budgets and work on even grander high-concept efforts. It’s what usually happens, but then again, Taika Waititi isn’t exactly the usual.
Hot off the success of his Thor instalment, we were all excited to see what would come next, and now, we’re all eagerly awaiting Jojo Rabbit – a satire set during the Second World War in which a young boy (played by Roman Griffin Davis) discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl.
By the way, did we mention the kid has conjured up an imaginary friend in the form of Adolf Hitler? Not many directors could pull something like this off, but with the director’s enthusiasm, a stellar cast has gathered to be a part of it, including the phenomenally talented Thomasin McKenzie in the role of Elsa Korr, the Jewish girl Rosie (Scarlett) is protecting.
Thomasin McKenzie: Previous roles
The 19-year-old actress is also from New Zealand, born in Wellington.
As highlighted by Wikipedia, she attends Samuel Marsden Collegiate School but has already achieved so much in her career. She first appeared on screens in the 2012 drama Existence, directed by Juliet Bergh. Two years later, she portrayed Young Louise in Consent: The Louise Nicholas Story, and also as Kate in the short A Long Beside the same year.
Then again, neither was the biggest project she worked on in 2014, as it’s worth spotlighting she played Astrid in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. It’s definitely an accomplishment appearing in a Peter Jackson epic at such a young age; she was then in TV series Shortland Street (she played Pixie Hannah), End of Term (Annabel), Jean (Young Jean), Lucy Lewis Can’t Lose (Lucy Lewis), The Cul De Sac (Willa), The Changeover (Rose Keaton) and more.
However, it’s the 2018 film from Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik – Leave No Trace – which shot her into stardom in the eyes of critics and audiences alike. In the central role as Tom and starring alongside the great Ben Foster (Hell Or High Water), she delivers a mature, knockout performance – easily one of the best that year.
She’s sure to win even more fans with her role in Taika’s latest, but there’s plenty more in store too…
Follow her on Instagram!
As well as Jojo Rabbit, it appears audience can expect to witness her work in forthcoming film The King – starring Timothée Chalamet (Lady Bird) – Liz Garbus’ Lost Girls, Justin Kurzel’s (Macbeth) True History of the Kelly Gang and last but not least, Edgar Wright’s mysterious horror-drama Last Night in Soho.
Thomasin really does have a lot to share with her fast-increasing fanbase over the next couple of years, so it’s probably a good idea to head over to her Instagram to keep up to date. You can follow her at @thomasin.mckenzie; she currently has 20.5k followers.
Jojo Rabbit will be released in UK cinemas on Friday, January 3rd 2020.
In other news, let’s talk about the Bad Boys For Life trailer.