A Quiet Place is ‘most personal film yet’ for director and co-star – who are also husband and wife
John Krasinksi and Emily Blunt hesitated to work together, but don’t regret teaming up on the pulse-pounding thriller A Quiet Place – even if they sometimes took their work home with them
For John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, the only thing scarier than shooting a horror movie was the thought of working together.
The married actors team up for the first time in A Quiet Place (in US cinemas on Friday, and opening in Hong Kong on April 12), which Krasinski also directed and co-wrote. The pulse-pounding thriller, which has earned 100 per cent positive reviews on aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, follows a family forced to stay silent to protect themselves against mysterious creatures that are hypersensitive to sound.
Krasinski initially hesitated to ask Blunt to play his on-screen wife, fearing she would say no, “which would make for awkward dinner conversation”, he jokes. Blunt, meanwhile, worried that their styles of working wouldn’t mesh.
“That first day, I was nervous, because I’m a different person when I’m at work than when I’m at home with the kids just hanging out, and he is, too,” she says. But “he’s so collaborative”, she says, and at times, “it was like John and I were going to battle together. That was really kind of special.”
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A Quiet Place immediately resonated with Krasinski when he read an earlier draft of the script by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, just weeks after Blunt gave birth to their second daughter, Violet, now 22 months old (joining Hazel, four).
“I cry at anything already, but I was wide open,” says Krasinski, 38. “I was experiencing a lot of the things the father was experiencing in the movie: ‘Can I keep this girl safe? Am I a good enough person to be her father?’ This felt like the most personal movie I’ve ever made.”
Blunt, 35, echoes his comments, saying that as a mother, the material was often “very traumatic” to shoot.
“Usually I can compartmentalise very easily, because I’m playing someone who’s very dissimilar to me, but this mother is so close to home,” she says. “We’d inevitably talk about the film [after work], but we’d also watch something like Shark Tank to completely disconnect.”
A Quiet Place is the third film Krasinski has directed since breaking out as Jim Halpert on NBC’s The Office, after his low-budget comedies The Hollars (2016) and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (2009).
He was hands-on in all aspects of the production: learning sign language – the way their nameless characters communicate – from deaf co-star Millicent Simmonds ( Wonderstruck ); creating the sounds of the arachnid-like creature that preys on the family; and even standing in for the monster in scenes with Blunt.
“It was hilarious seeing him with a huge, bushy beard and a tight mo-cap suit,” Blunt recalls. “He’d have his Vans on as well. It was just a funny image.”
Although Krasinski says he would love to direct again, he’s tied up for now with his new Amazon series Jack Ryan, the first season of which premieres on August 31. The show is based on Tom Clancy’s novels, and charts the action hero’s journey from a dull desk job at the CIA to a field agent fighting global terrorism.
He starts shooting the second season just as Blunt begins production on Jungle Cruise with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, her latest Disney outing after playing the title character in Mary Poppins Returns (in cinemas on Christmas Day). While she was filming the latter, Krasinski would fly to London every other weekend to visit Blunt and their kids – a must when their schedules conflict.
The couple, who started dating in 2008, used to be more adamant about not working at the same time, “but damn, is it hard”, Krasinski says. “When we are overlapping, the kids always come first. There’s no two- or three-week rule (for bringing the family together) – the kids get to dictate what the rule is, and the rule is when you’re gone, they’re sad.”
As for whether he could be pushing paper in a reported Office revival any time soon, the actor says he hasn’t received a call about it yet.
“Either they’re not thinking about doing a reboot right now, or they’re not thinking of using me in said reboot. So that’s a bummer,” Krasinski says. He questions whether the entire cast would be able to reunite for a new season, although “I’ve always loved the idea of a Christmas special: one big, one-hour episode to see where everybody is. I think that’d be great.”