John Krasinski had been playing the wait and see game that so many actors go through for a few years before he became everyone’s favorite but snarky boy next door Jim Halpert on “The Office.” And during the show’s nine-year run, whenever there was some downtime, he managed to get roles in all sorts of feature films, from “Jarhead” to “Dreamgirls” to “The Muppets.”
Krasinski cut his directing teeth on a few episodes of “The Office,” then went on to act in and direct the films “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men” and “The Hollars.” He again does double duty in the horror film “A Quiet Place,” starring with his wife Emily Blunt as a couple who, trapped in a secluded home with their three young kids, must remain silent or they will incur the wrath of a nasty creature who reacts to sounds. Krasinski spoke about the film last week in New York.
Q: Do you think it’s going to surprise a lot of your fans that you’ve made a really creepy horror film?
A: I am not good with horror movies. I am a scaredy cat. (Producer) Drew Form had the script, and called me one day and said, “Would you ever be in a genre movie?” I said, “No, man, I’m a scaredy cat; I can’t do horror movies.” He said, “What if it was a really cool idea?” I said, “What’s the idea?” He said, “It’s a family that can’t talk and you have to figure out why.” I read the script, and I was immediately blown away, because Emily and I had just had our second daughter. So, I was legitimately in that world of terror and thinking every single minute of every single day about protecting my daughter, and keeping her safe, then this script comes about basically the exact same thing. That immediately connected me to the whole project, and said I wanted to do it.
Q: You and Emily were both in “The Muppets” a few years ago, but this is the first time you’ve starred together in a film. How did that go?
A: Well, when I was coming up with ideas with the writers, I always had Emily in mind for the movie, but I wanted her to somehow be able to arrive at that herself. So, I saw it going two ways. If I asked her to do the movie and she said no, that would be a very awkward dinner. But if she said, “Yes, I’ll do it for you,” that would have broken my heart, because I didn’t want anything that she did to be for me. I wanted it always to be for her. So, when she read the script, and she said, “You can’t let anyone else play this role,” it was really nice that we let each other kind of arrive at this alone.
Q: You have a screenwriting credit along with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. Could you talk about your contributions to it?
A: Their script had such an incredible idea, and a lot of the major set pieces that are scary and huge and fun were all their ideas. So, for me it was about how do I take those incredibly powerful moments and drill down more of my own experience with the new parenting thing. So, it was sort of trying to make sure that every single storyline and every single moment came back to the family.
Q: There are some funny moments, but it’s a really intense movie, with lots of silence. How did you maintain all of that while keeping it real?
A: The actors were all so incredible. You always try to be quiet on sets, but because the crew thought that this was a silent movie, I think they thought we would do all the sound in post-production, so they could talk all they wanted, and we would just pull out that sound. But it turned out it was actually us convincing them and all of us that we actually had to be more quiet than usual, so that you could hear every little squeak and wind chime or just the wind. I think the intensity of not speaking was my biggest fear. How would we keep the pacing and the tension like a normal movie? But I could see by day two that Emily, and especially the kids, were emoting with such power, you could feel in the room that something special was happening. Everybody was creating this magical moment, and I was just lucky enough to capture it on film.
“A Quite Place” opens on April 6.
— Ed Symkus writes about movies for More Content Now. He can be reached at email@example.com.