Movies

Emily Blunt fought to be cast by director-husband in A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place actress Emily Blunt on fighting for the role and chemistry on set, especially with actor-director husband John Krasinski

English actress Emily Blunt was in the middle of shooting the musical fantasy Mary Poppins Returns when she read the script for her US actor-director husband John Krasinski's terrifying new horror film, A Quiet Place.

With Jaws as her favourite movie of all time ever since she first saw it as a child, she knew she had to be in it.

Opening here tomorrow, A Quiet Place follows a family of four (Blunt, Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe) who must live life in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.

Blunt, 35, just needed to convince Krasinski, 38, - with whom she has two daughters aged four and two - to say yes to her. And say no to the other actress she had originally recommended he offer the part to.

John says it was you who said he should direct A Quiet Place. Is that true?

Well, I encouraged him to do it because it just seemed like such a no-brainer.

Honestly, he pitched me the film and I was like, first: How come this film has never been done? It is such a fantastic, easy to grasp idea for a horror film.

I honestly have never felt more loved creatively than I did by him on this film. Emily Blunt on huband John Krasinski

Second, it seems to have a deeper meaning that I just knew he was on board with - the idea of a family that needs to communicate more than any other family, and they can't because of the danger of them speaking.

I was amazed by the idea. And I knew he would be able to capture it because he has such a flair for visual things.

And he had such conviction about it. I said, 'You can't just be in it. You have to direct it. You have to do the whole thing.'

Apparently at one point you also suggested another actor friend of yours for the role you eventually ended up taking?

Ah, yes. My friend, who will remain nameless, she is a brilliant actress. I told John she would be great.

It probably came out of a place where I had just finished Mary Poppins Returns and wanted to relax for a while.

And this movie was such a special idea, and I wanted him to have that.

Also, whenever we had been asked to work together before, we had always been aware there was a chance our relationship would become the story of the whole thing, and I didn't want that.

But, one of the glorious things that has come out of this whole thing is that the concept of this film is so much bigger than our relationship.

People are reacting to the film-making element of it rather than the, 'They're a married couple, in a movie.' But all of that said, when I read the script, I just knew I didn't want anyone but me to play it.

The relationships among the family members in the movie are beautifully realised. How did all the actors achieve that level of intimacy?

On that, I do have to really credit these extraordinary kids that we hit the jackpot with.

I mean, I couldn't even relate to them as child actors because they were just as professional and profound as every adult actor I have worked with.

Millie and Noah are such old souls. Millie (who is deaf in real life) said she was nervous going into it, working with all these hearing actors. But I really saw her come out of her shell.

We were living in this sort of alternate reality, shooting on this farm, this insular world, so we inevitably all got close.

It is one of those low-budget films where everyone was doing for the right reasons and was there to connect. It was a very natural process. We honestly went to bed every night thanking God for them - they were so brilliant.

How did you find the experience of using sign language on set?

It was amazing. We had a fantastic guy who taught us sign language, he also taught us ways to make it individual to us, to give it our personal take. Because not everybody signs the same, just as not everybody speaks the same.

How did you find being directed by John?

In some ways we really wanted to offer each other the same diplomacy you would any other actor or director.

But ultimately, we do have a shorthand, a secret language you can have only if you are a married couple.

We were actually really nervous to work together. The day before my first scene, I was absolutely bricking it. I was like, 'What if you don't like working with me?'

It was the most incredible experience. I honestly have never felt more loved creatively than I did by him on this film. It was so collaborative and exhilarating.

That is not to say it was always rainbows and sunbeams. Like any film-maker/actor relationship, we butted heads on a few things, we had to talk it out and have some whisky afterwards.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, because I have the ultimate trust in him.

We definitely discovered a new side to our relationship through this. We have always been each other's biggest fans as a married couple and in life, but it is a different entity working together.

I think in some ways it has brought us closer. Especially now that the film has had such a wonderful reaction, it is so special for us to be able to share in it.

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