Movies

John Krasinski is loud and proud of A Quiet Place and wife Emily Blunt

A Quiet Place star and director John Krasinski is blown away by talent of co-star and wife Emily

John Krasinski's third time as director - after the 2016 film The Hollars and three episodes of the TV sitcom that first made his name, The Office - takes a brilliantly simple horror premise and layers it with complexity, unbearable tension and indelible performances.

The 38-year-old is the executive producer of A Quiet Place, which he also wrote.

He also stars in it as a man who must, alongside his wife (played by Krasinski's real-life wife Emily Blunt), protect their children (Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) in a world overrun by creatures that hunt by sound.

Made for US$17 million (S$22.3 million), A Quiet Place is now showing here and has received rapturous reviews and earned US$50 million at the North American box office - twice as much as box office analysts had projected - resulting in No. 1 bragging rights.

The pitch for A Quiet Place is genuinely unique, isn't it?

Absolutely. When it was pitched to me, it was basically as good a one-liner as you're ever going to get. The producers of (the 2014 film) Jack Ryan had the script and they said to me, "Would you ever do genre?".

I said, "I'm going to be honest with you, I don't really do genre because I'm not really a big fan of it, because I'm a real scaredy cat. But if it's a cool idea then maybe".

They said, "Okay, so this is about a family who has to be quiet, and you have to figure out why". All these ideas kind of washed over me. And when I say washed over me, basically within 12 hours I pretty much had the whole thing laid out in my head.

I was going to rewrite it and act in it. But then I went downstairs and pitched it to Emily. And she said, "You can't just rewrite this. You have to direct it. I've never seen you more excited about anything in your career".

You also cast Emily as your wife in the movie. Did you have any trepidation about the two of you working together?

The funny thing is that as I was writing it, I was obviously always dreaming it would be Emily (in the role). But she was doing (musical fantasy) Mary Poppins Returns at the time and we'd just had our second daughter, so there was a lot going on.

And I've also been witness to how specific her choices are. The only two ways I saw it going in my head were both bad.

Either I'd ask her to do it and she'd say no. And that would go poorly. Or, she'd say yes but was really only doing it for me. And that would go poorly, too.

So, the way I dealt with that was that I just didn't deal with it at all. I just re-wrote the script and told Emily all about it. And then she started recommending people for the role.

Then one day we were flying to Los Angeles and she asked if she could read the script. And when she finished she turned to me and she looked genuinely sick.

As I was reaching for a barf bag, she said, "You can't let anyone else do this role". I said, "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

In the end, she asked if I'd let her do this role. I think I thought about it for 0.2 seconds and said yes. I probably should have played my cards closer to my chest, but I just blurted it out.

What was it like directing Emily? You properly put her through the wringer in this.

I've got to say, the night before we started shooting, she turned to me and said, "Are you nervous?" I said, "Terrified". She said, "Oh, good. Me too".

We didn't know what to expect.

We tend to keep our careers separate for selfish reasons. We'd always talked about doing something together but we never wanted the story of us being married to supercede any story we were telling.

With this, though, the story is pretty out there, so our marriage doesn't seem to affect it. In fact, I think there was something beautiful about us being married, and being married in the movie.

What was she like as a leading lady?

The week before we started to shoot, I met (director) Rob Marshall. He said to me, "You're gonna see..." And I said, "I know". And he said, "No. You'll see". And I said, "I know. I'm her biggest fan". And he said, "Nope. Not until you're in the room and she does what she does will you know how talented your wife is".

And I thought two things: one, what an incredibly kind thing for an accomplished director to say. And, two, what does that mean?

Of course I know how talented my wife is. But he was absolutely right.

On day two or three, she did the bathtub scene, the most emotional scene in the movie. And, truly, one take of that exists. That's it.

When she let it rip, the air just disappeared out of the room and I was completely blown back. My brain just shut down. I had no idea what had just happened.

She was so powerful, so committed, so real.

In my opinion, she's the best actress working.

To have someone who's not just your leading lady but your Leading Lady, standing by you, being the greatest support system you could ever ask for, was the best experience of my career. Truly, I will never have a better collaboration.

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