Taika Waititi Michael Jackson and Bubbles
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Credit: Santi Visalli/Getty Images / Lars Niki/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly (via Jeff Koons)

Taika Waititi still making stop-motion movie about Michael Jackson's pet monkey; also in talks for Akira

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Dec 27, 2018, 1:30 PM EST

If you were still wondering, the answer is "YES!" Thor: Ragnarok's Taika Waititi is still on track to direct a stop-motion movie about Michael Jackson's famous pet chimp, Bubbles. The New Zealand filmmaker confirmed this during a Q&A for Empire's February issue, which teases the biggest films coming in 2019.

"The look of the film hasn't been determined yet yet because we're still finding designers," Waititi told the magazine, adding that the project is still very much in the preproduction stage. "One of my favorite stop-motion films is The Nightmare Before Christmas, I love a lot of the old, old stuff by a lot of the Eastern Bloc animators."

Waititi also listed Fantastic Mr. Fox, Anomalsia, and Kubo and the Two Strings as some of his top picks for recent stop-motion films.

As for whether he'll tackle a live-action adaptation of Akira (the beloved cyberpunk-based anime film from 1988), Waititi's a little less sure, yet remains optimistic.

"Everyone's still talking," he said. "I'm concentrating right now on finishing two other projects and a bunch of TV things. I'm not focusing on that right now. We're still talking."

The director's next theatrical release will be Jojo Rabbit, a dramedy set during World War II, in which Waititi will play an "imaginary friend" version of Adolf Hitler. As one of history's most evil individuals, the Nazi leader is an easy target to parody, but it's also a difficult juggling act to capture the seriousness, bigotry, and streamlined murder prevalent in war-torn Europe at the time.

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

"I'm guessing fans of Hitler won't be happy," Waititi joked. "It's not very respectful to him. It's not an authentic portrayal, because he's an imaginary friend. My take is going to be in keeping with my style."

Co-starring Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Alfie Allen, and Stephen Merchant, Jojo Rabbit is expected to be released by Fox Searchlight in 2019.