It would have taken a very special horror film project to attract Krasinski, and that’s what Krasinski found when he read the script for A Quiet Place. “When I was sent the script, I was intrigued because it was a horror-thriller, which was a genre I’d obviously never worked in before,” says Krasinksi, who rewrote the Bryan Woods-Scott Beck script prior to the start of filming. “I was told that the script had a great hook, which it did. When I read the script, I thought that this was a story that could be turned into a classic horror film.”
A Quiet Place tells the story of a family living in complete isolation on a farm, hiding from a malevolent supernatural spirit that reacts to sound. Krasinski and his real-life wife, actress Emily Blunt, play Lee and Evelyn Abbott in the film. “Although the script was scary, it was also a metaphor for parenting, which struck a chord in me,” says Krasinski. “I have two small children, and I would do anything to protect them.”
DG: What attracted you to this project?
JK: I thought that it could be more than just a scary film, and that’s why I wanted to rewrite the script and focus on the universal fear associated with parenting, which is something I knew that everyone, certainly everyone who’s a parent, could identify with.
DG: Why did you feel that you had to direct this film, instead of just acting in it?
JK: I love directing, and I felt like I was best person to direct this film because of what I brought to the story, in terms of my own parenting experience. Because of this, I felt I was able to rewrite the script in a way that brought maximum suspense and tension to the story. It’s about parenting and protecting your children from evil and how we, as parents, obsess over this. I wanted this film to be scary but also to have an inspiring, true vision.
DG: How would you describe the supernatural threat that this family encounters in the film?
JK: There’s something out there that wants to harm them, and there’s also the metaphorical aspect of parenting, and the fear and paranoia that comes with worrying about your children. We know there are bad people in the world who want to harm them. But, at some point, you can’t shield your kids from the real world. You have to let them go out into the real world and experience the good and bad, the dangers.
DG: How would you describe the family dynamic that exists in the film?
JK: The family dynamic that exists in the film is harrowing and unique. They’re trapped inside a living nightmare, and they have to choose between surviving and thriving, and do you just want to survive what’s happening to you, or do you want to live? Emily has a scene in the film where she says that’s it’s not enough for them just to survive. She doesn’t want to live like that. She wants a life of fulfillment. She wants to thrive. She wants to live in warmth.
DG: How would you describe the look and tone of the film?
JK: It has a classic feel to it, and it feels and looks timeless, and it’s full of confident shots. The story takes place in and around a remote farm, and the film has the look of an epic western, and it feels like we’re being taken away to another galaxy, to another time and place, and the film has a very nostalgic feel to it. The cinematographer was adamant that we shoot on film, and she was right because it gave the film a nostalgic look, which is what I wanted. Even though this is a studio film, it was a down-and-dirty filming experience, which was three times harder than my previous feature directorial effort.
DG: Since you’re not a horror fan, what influences did you bring to this film?
JK: Every good story, regardless of genre, has drama and tension. That’s certainly true with the comedy work I’ve done in the past. When I did the television series The Office, it was a comedy, obviously, but there was also great tension in that show, and that’s what audiences responded to. With A Quiet Place, people will, hopefully, think of their own children, their own family, as they’re watching the film, and they will, hopefully, ask themselves the question: What would I do in this situation? Lee and Evelyn have two children, and I have two children, so there’s nothing manipulative about this, at least from my point-of-view. You will care about this family and the terror they’re facing in the film.
DG: How would you describe the role of silence in the film?
JK: Silence is the film. Silence can mean different things, and it can have good and bad connotations in our lives. There is respite, and there is terror, and there is the need to be quiet because you are being hunted down and experiencing pure terror. Can you live quietly, in silence, and for how long? No one can live in silence forever. What if your life depended on this?
A Quiet Place will be released in North American theaters on April 6, 2018.