Taika Waititi has said that he felt “embarrassed” to portray Adolf Hitler in his new film Jojo Rabbit.
The director’s alternate take on the Nazi leader has previously drawn criticism from Holocaust experts.
Talking to Empire, Waititi said: “I was just sort of embarrassed. That’s the main thing. I was embarrassed all the time to look like that. Going on set, I’d say, ‘Look, sorry everyone.’
“It felt like it was hard for it not to be gratuitous. You start asking yourself why you’re really doing it: ‘Why am I dressed like this?'”
It follows recent comments in which the director said he was “blackmailed” by the film’s studio to take the role himself.
He explained: “Fox Searchlights blackmailed me into doing it. You start [out] thinking of bigger stars to be part of a film like this or to play this imaginary Hitler.
“But at the end of the day, it came down to the simple fact that if we had done that, that would have overshadowed the heart of the story — which is this beautiful story, this relationship story between these two kids.”
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Waititi added that he had “no real interest in writing an authentic portrayal [of Hitler],” adding: I had no interest in actually putting in the effort or putting in the research, because I just didn’t think he deserved it.”
After Jojo Rabbit was screened at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles recently, Holocaust experts said they “have some concerns” over the portrayal of Hitler in the film.