John Krasinki doesn’t normally watch horror movies. So when the time came to direct A Quiet Place, a monster thriller set in a world where nobody is allowed to make any noise, he had to cram.
“I watched all these incredible modern horror movies like Get Out, The Witch, The Babadook and Let The Right One In,” Krasinki says. “All these movies were so influential with how people do tension and terror.”
He borrowed some other inspiration from throwbacks like Jaws, Alien, Rosemary’s Baby and Hitchcock. He wanted his movie to have “that feeling of thrillers 30 years ago”. Krasinski also stars in the film as a father of a family trying to survive. Emily Blunt, who is married to Krasinki in real life, plays his wife.
Is it true that you don’t like scary movies?
I don’t think you look at my name and you say that guy is going to do a horror movie. I certainly wouldn’t feel that way. The truth is, I never saw it as a horror movie. When I got the script, it was scary. The thing I bonded to most in the original draft was this idea of family.
We had just had our second daughter three weeks before I read the script. I was an open nerve. So when I did my rewrite, I thought I could really make this a metaphor for parenthood — the idea of protecting your kids. And how far would you go to protect them.
After that, all the scary stuff came because you care so much about this family.
Did you know Emily was going to be in it from the start?
I was worried she was going to say no. She was really busy. Also, she’s very specific about her choices. And I admire that so much. She’s so incredibly talented, but she has such incredible taste. I didn’t want her to do it for me; I was worried that would be the answer. I wanted her to do it for herself.
It couldn’t have been more organic how it came about. She actually recommended some other actresses for the part that she thought would be great. And then, all of a sudden, she read the script and came to the end of it and she said, “You have to let me do this role.”
I know it sounds corny, but it was the best compliment of my career. Knowing what it takes for her to say yes to a project, the fact that she loved the script enough to do it was just awesome.
Were you nervous about working with your wife?
I was nervous to direct her or work with her before we started shooting. We both talked about it a lot. Luckily, we were both nervous. It’s because we both have our own individual process. It was more about, “What if he gives me an idea that’s terrible. Or, what if she gives a performance that isn’t how I saw it?”
And so what we did, we spent all the weeks leading up to it going over the script. I walked her through the entire movie of what I was going to shoot before we shot it. All the ideas that she had were really smart.
She was so confident, so caring, so supportive that by the time we got to the shoot, there was nobody better to have on set than her. She stood next to me and watched me direct the scenes she was in or the scenes she wasn’t in. It’s the best collaboration I’ll ever have.
Emily once told me you saw The Devil Wears Prada on opening weekend before you had met her.
I think I did. Oh man. I’ve probably seen that movie like 70 times.
Probably. Because it’s on cable every day like six times a day. I’ll tell you it’s the kryptonite for channel surfing, because you stop every time it’s on.
Do you watch it together?
I’ve watched it with her once or twice, but it’s not like the most comfortable thing to make her watch herself in a movie. But it’s just that good. — Reuters