“Jojo Rabbit” director Taika Waititi says he felt “very nervous” playing the imaginary Hitler in his film about a young boy growing up in Nazi Germany during World War II, and that it was never his intention to do so when he wrote the script for it.

“It wasn’t my intention at all writing the script and it was actually something Fox Searchlight encouraged me to do,” Waititi told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven at the Toronto International Film Festival. “They encouraged me to play the role and I felt very nervous about that. But then I thought, ‘you know what? Once in a generation, an actor comes along who sort of changes the game…’”

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