John Krasinski has certainly earned his stripes.
Before winning critical acclaim for writing and directing A Quiet Place, he participated in no less than 10 press conferences with the Hollywood Foreign Press promoting his films, from Leatherheads (2008) and 13 Hours (2016) to offbeat movies like Away We Go (2009) and his first directorial effort, The Hollars (2016).
Unfortunately, A Quiet Place ended up being marginalised by 2018’s year-end big guns, but Krasinski finally had his moment.
It was at the SAG awards, when his wife Emily Blunt was a nominee as Best Supporting Actress for A Quiet Place. When she was announced as the winner, the two of them couldn’t be more surprised or delighted.
But then they’ve always been Hollywood’s most likeable couple.
Over the course of their marriage, Blunt has grown in stature as an actress while Krasinski stagnated both as an actor and a director until finally achieving box office clout when A Quiet Place made over US$300mil (RM1.2bil) worldwide, a sweet reversal of fortune.
But never one to look back on his laurels, the actor replaced Chris Pine in the new TV reboot of Jack Ryan (available on Amazon Prime Video), a role formally inhabited by no less than Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck.
Krasinski’s career initially took off when he played a supporting role on The Office, but even then he was widely ambitious, choosing film roles wisely and eventually branching out behind the camera both as a writer and a director.
His best move, however, was sweeping Blunt off her feet. They have a terrific marriage and are the the proud parents of two daughters, Hazel, five and Violet, two.
It was also Blunt who encouraged him to direct A Quiet Place. He explained: “Before making that movie there was something inside me that was missing. I have to give a lot of credit to my wife, because I intended to rewrite the script and star in it, but then when I pitched her my whole idea for a rewrite, she said, ‘You are not going to do that.’ And I said ‘Really?’
“And she said, ‘You are going to direct it.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ and she said, ‘Because I have never seen you lit up like this before so you have to do this.’ And she was right because there was so much more to this.”
Krasinski is currently writing the screenplay for the sequel and is hoping to direct it as well. “Usually with sequels you have the return of a villain or the return of a hero but my idea was about how the rest of the world was surviving under those circumstances. That was the idea I was tinkering with.”
How exactly were you able to sweep Emily off her feet?
The truth is, I married up, I am not going to lie to you. I will go on record as saying that. The moment that I met her, a friend of mine was having dinner with her, and I went over to greet him, and definitely right then, there was the swishy moment of shaking her hand and realising, ‘Oh my God, this is it’.
Many years ago George Clooney cast you in Leatherheads. Are you still close today?
I remember I did my audition on tape, and before I was signed, I never met him, which I always thought was incredibly courageous of him (to hire me).
During the first week of shooting, he invited me to dinner, and after that we had dinner every single night. He talked to me like a director, but then by the end of it, he told me, “I know that you are going to stick around in this business for a long time, don’t ever forget that when you are at the top of the mountain and you are No. 1 on the call sheet, meaning the director, that will be a responsibility and not a gift. So make sure you don’t squander that.”
And without a doubt, one of the first people I pitched the idea of A Quiet Place to was George. He has been the most unbelievable mentor and friend and all those things to me. I totally believe that he saw something in me before I saw it in myself.
Do you spend time with your children, or is that Emily’s job?
My family is always my top priority, and in fact every single week when we shot Jack Ryan in Montreal, I would shoot till 5.30 in the morning on a Friday, and then fly to Toronto on an hour flight, and then take a flight to London for the weekend and be back 24 hours later, just to be with them.
I always want my kids to look back in their lives and say that he was there no matter what, and that we were always their top priority, and that’s all I want them to know.
Coming from privileged backgrounds, how are do you make sure your children are not overindulged?
I grew up privileged certainly but not privileged in a crazy way. My dad was a doctor so we had a good upbringing. But my entire life was about respect and belief in yourself, and all these things that are paramount to any upbringing.
What is really interesting to me is the friends that I really respect in this business who also grew up privileged, whenever I ask them how do you keep you kids level-headed, the answer is always, parenting.
It’s a lot of hard work. And I think that’s exciting because with privilege comes great opportunity to teach them self-awareness of what they have, and responsibility because of what they have.