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Stephen Merchant, the British actor and writer best-known for co-creating The Office, is set to play a Gestapo agent in Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi‘s forthcoming WWII satire Jojo Rabbit, reports Deadline Hollywood.

Merchant turned to Instagram to post the casting update, which doubled as a first look of him in character. “Here’s me trying to look German for my part in JoJo Rabbit,” he wrote.

Merchant revealing his involvement and a photo at the same time may seem like a fast turnaround, but filming actually began back in May. And earlier this month, Waititi, who also co-stars — in addition to writing the screenplay and directing — posted a photo of himself as a fantasized version of Adolf Hitler:

We should explain: Waititi plays an affable, imaginary friend version of the dictator, dreamed-up by a young German boy, Jojo (Roman Griffin), who wants to join Hitler’s army. He’s being raised in wartime Germany by a single mother (Scarlett Johansson).

Waititi described Jojo’s imaginary friend incarnation as “goofy” and “charming,” basing him on Nazi propaganda used to sway children’s opinions of the dictator.

He will also play a more realistic, ruthless dictator version of Hitler.

According to the movie’s description, the young boy’s naïve patriotism is tested when he learns his mother is hiding a Jewish boy in their home.

It may not sound all that funny, but Jojo Rabbit is billed as a comedy. And with actress Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) also starring, we can expect some laughs. Rounding out the cast is Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) who plays a Nazi captain and Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones) who takes of the role of his second in command.

Filming has begun, but there’s no premiere date just yet.

What do you think of looking at history though a comedic lens? 


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By Brigid Brown