The actor-writer-director confronted his fears for his new chiller A Quiet Place, co-starring his wife, Emily Blunt
Nepotism alert: John Krasinski, the 38-year-old actor-writer-director, discovered the co-star of his new film, A Quiet Place, sitting next to him on the sofa. To be fair, though, the Americans wife is Emily Blunt, the Bafta and Golden Globe-winning British actress. A smart, stylish horror flick, A Quiet Place is Krasinskis third film as a director, but he is best known for an eight-year stint as Jim Halpert in the US version of The Office. He and Blunt live in New York with their two daughters, aged four and one.
A Quiet Place has a clever, innovative premise: the Alien-style monsters cant see but have exceptional hearing, so the humans in the film have to be almost wordless. Are you someone who knows and loves horrorfilms?
No. Completely the opposite, which is crazy. I never was a big horror guy, because I was just too scared. Thats the truth. Then these producers called me one day and said: Would you ever act in a horror movie? I said: I dont know, Im kind of a scaredy cat, but if its a cool idea maybe. And they said: Well, the idea is that this family cant make any noise and you have to figure out why. And I thought: Thats as good a one-liner as you can get.
The story follows a husband and wife (Krasinski and Blunt) who are trying to keep their kids alive. Does this tap into any parents greatest fear?
Absolutely. There was a line I wrote [in the screenplay]: Who are we, if we cant protect them? And I remember it was one of the lines that when Emily read the script, thats why she did it. She just said: This is going to be the scariest part Ill ever play. And I said: Why is that? And she said: Because I am always pretending my fears in movies. Like in The Girl on the Train, Im pretending to be this out-of-control alcoholic. And in this movie, Im actually acting out my everyday fears. Granted, not creatures roaming around in the darkness, but keeping our kids safe and the inevitability of fearing the worst is something that we think about all the time.
You had to learn some sign language for A Quiet Place. Whats been the strangest skill youve had to pick up for a movie?
Probably in [the 2015 Cameron Crowe film] Aloha: I had to learn how to land a C-17 plane. They put me in a full Air Force simulator and Ive got to say, its the weirdest thing because your brain forgets that its a fake plane. So as youre landing it, youre like: Oh my God, were all going to die right now!
As part of the online publicity for A Quiet Place, you did a skit with your wife where you called yourselves, The Krunts. Are you going to regret coining that?
Yes! I immediately regretted that Im not going to lie to you. I just wish I could do better for my wife, because we could have made Bluntinski, we could have done a lot of things. But Krunt is what comes out of it. I mean, just imagine if we came back to England and had a lovely estate, wed have to call it Krunt Manor.
What do people in Britain say about The Office?
One of my favourite encounters was with a customs agent who said: Are you an actor? What would I know you from? And I said: The Office, but dont worry, the American Office. Then, as he stamped my passport, he very under his breath went: Well, I like it better. And I went:NO WAY!
You beefed up a lot for the 2016 film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Whats the best part of getting into that kind of shape?
I remember Matt Damon saying this and its true: you pick your kids up and dont have back pain. Likenothing. You can pick them up, toss them in the air and not feel like youre going to the hospital that night.
Do you get the feeling that your wife has a preference either way?
I dont think she does, but Im sure she wasnt upset that I was in greatshape.
Youre about to be the latest incarnation of Tom Clancys Jack Ryan in a new Amazon series. Whats your spin on him?
Well, the whole thing for me is Ive been a huge fan of Jack Ryan I feel like hes our James Bond. I mean, a lot less sex, but Bond nonetheless.
So you want to play him with more sex then?
No, I tried and they wouldnt go for it. For me, hes a character that I think resonates really well now: weve had so many stories about superheroes who can fly, superheroes who can shoot things out of their hands and I think to have a real person do heroic things is kind of a nice thing to put out in the world right now.
You seem to have diverse tastes what, culturally, have you lovedrecently?
Well, when you have kids, you immediately get about two years behind. So, musically, Im super into Leon Bridges right now. And oh, one of the best things Ive ever seen is Billy Crudup in this one-man show called Harry Clarke [at the Minetta Lane theatre, Greenwich Village]. Its probably the best acting that Ive everseen.
Youre better qualified to talk about Paw Patrol then?
Exactly, correct. Thats probably what I should do next: the reboot of Paw Patrol. Thats your headline: here comes the live-action Paw Patrol from John Krasinski.
You have a reputation in your roles and in press of being a good guy, a gentleman. Is that important to you?
Well, thats very nice, first of all. And second, my parents definitely brought me up to carry myself without being negative, so theres probably part of me that always wants to be a worthy son. But overall, hey, theres worse things than being seen as the nice guy.