John Krasinski has done a tremendous job of diversifying his career following his work on the hit comedy, “The Office.” Shifting from TV to film, he has also explored roles behind-the-scenes. In 2014, he directed “The Hollars,” and in 2016, he served as an executive producer for the award-winning film “Manchester By The Sea.”
His latest project, “A Quiet Place,” is a high-concept horror whose premise revolves around monsters who hunt through sound. The film is a stark departure from his usual work that proves his ability to maneuver between genres –– a theme central to many of his previous projects.
In the early days of the horror genre, films shocked and delighted audiences with their ability to arouse visceral reactions. Over the course of the past few decades, the genre has developed the reputation for being gimmicky and repetitive.
Today, horror films like “Get Out” and “A Quiet Place” are reclaiming the genre’s significance in the cultural sphere as a place to explore unique narratives and circulate social commentary.
Krasinski recently sat down with WSN and other college newspapers to talk about balancing different roles on set, why it felt like the right time to explore horror and how this film serves as an ode to the importance of family.
“This is the most I’ve ever put into a project not only as an actor, producer and writer but also as a person — as a dad. I think this is a love letter to my kids,” Krasinski said. “If you look at the jobs individually, they’re overwhelming … [but] once we started shooting, I felt so lucky to have all those jobs because I cared about the project so much and I was able to use every single aspect of each job to craft it exactly as I wanted it.”
The ability to play multiple roles on set also afforded him the opportunity to cultivate a collaborative environment. He and his wife Emily Blunt, who worked together for the first time on the film, made sure to keep an open policy when it came to suggestions for the film’s direction.
“The cool thing about being an actor and a director and where it benefits you, is that I get to be in the scenes with them,” Krasinski said. “So instead of being a disembodied head that yells ‘cut’ and interrupts their flow, I actually get to be in there.”
Krasinski, who has never been shy about being drawn to projects with strong family dynamics and emotional cores, used that perspective to ground the film’s horror concept.
“Something that was really powerful was [showing] that this family … survives only together, not individually,” he said.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that Krasinski, a father of two, connected personally with his character’s motivations and interpreted the film as “a huge metaphor for parenthood.” In fact, some of his own anxieties surrounding fatherhood helped inform his performance and his initial decision to take on the script.
The film’s emotional depth is promising, and the focus on fear is hard to forget. Krasinski himself wasn’t a huge fan of horror movies before this opportunity came along. When approached by producers of “Jack Ryan” about whether he would ever consider doing a horror film, Krasinski humorously responded, “I can’t because I’m a scaredy-cat.”
Thankfully, Krasinski was able to put aside his fears and produce the kind of unique, engaging and thrilling horror experience that is rare nowadays. As a result, the film is helping to spark the kinds of social discussions that are also rarely associated with modern horror.
“A Quiet Place” opens in theaters on April 6.
A version of this article appeared in the March 26 print edition. Email Zuleyma Sanchez at [email protected]