On Friday night, when introducing SXSW opener “A Quiet Place” — his third film as a director — John Krasinski acknowledged his wife and lead actress in the audience as “a young up-and-comer, Miss Emily Blunt” who “I can’t even talk about without crying, so I won’t look at her.” After the nearly-silent sci-fi movie was uproariously received by more than 1,200 festival-goers, Krasinski brought his cast onstage at the Paramount Theatre. The director then got emotional about Blunt, as predicted, when recalling a run-in with her “Mary Poppins Returns” director, Rob Marshall.
Last year, a week before shooting began, Krasinski settled on an editing bay for “A Quiet Place.” At the facility, “They happened to be editing a little indie movie called ‘Mary Poppins [Returns]’ at the same time,” Krasinski said. Marshall told Krasinski that nothing could prepare him for watching Blunt in her element —”‘You’re gonna see'” — to which Krasinski replied, “‘I know, she’s amazing.’ And he went, ‘No, no, no, you’re going to see.’ And I said, ‘I know, I’m her biggest fan,’ and he said, ‘No. Not until you’re in the room when she does what she does.'”
Krasinski paused the anecdote to compose himself. “Whew! And anyway, I saw very clearly what an incredible talent she was, and she moved me every single day.”
According to Blunt, “We were both a bit nervous going into it,” and even “sort of terrified the night before my first scene…hoping to offer each other the same diplomacy we would give any other actor or director.” Since they started dating in late 2008, the couple had “always been hearing [about each other’s onset experiences] secondhand, and you don’t know how your processes are going to align themselves.” But Blunt said being directed by and sharing scenes with her husband was “so exhilarating.” Not only were they good creative collaborators, but the couple realized “how much we truly valued each other in a different sense outside of our marriage.” She concluded with a dreamy sigh, “It was just awesome.”
Set in the near future after an apocalyptic event, “A Quiet Place” follows a nameless family of survivors (Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe play the children). A trio of sharp-toothed creatures lurks across the landscape, and making any noise at all is enough to prompt an attack. “Emily and I had just had our second daughter, so I was already in the world of pure terrified and nervous and all those things, so I thought, Why not put them in the movie?” said Krasinski, whose top priority is his family, “especially nowadays, with what’s going on all around us…[with] reliance on each other, you can get through anything.”
Ultimately, he believes the film addresses angst familiar to all parents: “You never want to let your kids go out into the world, but one day you’ll have to.”
Paramount Pictures will release “A Quiet Place” on April 6.