IT WAS THE surprise horror hit of last year: actor John Krasinski’s debut behind the camera saw him direct his wife, Emily Blunt, in A Quiet Place. Set in a dystopian world where any slight noise attracts blind killer monsters, what transpires is a family trek including a pregnant Evelyn (Blunt) across the wilderness in order to reconnect with what remains of civilisation. The sequel opens in the UAE today and here Blunt answers our questions.
Could you even explain the plot if you wanted to?
Oh boy. I would say this, I think if the first one’s deeper metaphor was for parenthood, this second one is the idea of a fractured society of whether neighbors will extend their hand to each other. And how has everyone else dealt with this invasion? How have other people done it? Because you’re secluded in the first one with this family and how they’re coping, but now their secluded environment is shattered. New baby. House has burnt down, where do they go? Who helps them? What do they do? What does she do? What does this mother do?The second one is about that expansion of the world. It’s certainly a bigger movie; still has the same taut, kind of muscularity of tension of the first one, but I’m interested as a fan to see how everyone else survived this.
John (Krasinski) was saying that where the first film was more about fear, this one’s more about loss. And we were wondering if that’s maybe, on a psychological level, even more stressful to play.
It was, because I think that Evelyn is really alone now and grief-stricken, and panicked and overwhelmed. And you’ve got a new baby. You’ve got a brand new baby who doesn’t understand the rules of the game. At least her other kids understood it. So I think that it does very much deal with loss, with how do you put one foot in front of the other emotionally after losing somebody like that. But how on Earth is she going to survive without this partner who really, you know, really helped her create this, almost sort of thriving little world that they had in the first one?
Is that scenario abstract enough to not constantly think, my God, what would I do? What would happen if John weren’t there?
Well, I think I’m probably someone who worries irrationally about situations like that too much. As soon as I had children, I think you always have that sense of fear if anything were to happen to them. And I will say that Quiet Place 2, maybe as much as the first one, it is the most personal film I’ve ever been in when it comes to how intense I found some of those scenes because it feels so close to home to me. Not that I’ve ever, thankfully, experienced the kind of loss that she has. I think the nature of the scenes probably took their toll on me more than most films I’ve done.
Of all of the characters that you’ve played before, who do you think would struggle the most in a world where you can’t talk?
I feel like Mary Poppins is very chatty. She probably wouldn’t do very well with that. And I think The Devil Wears Prada character would be just useless in that environment.
What would she wear?
Well, exactly. I don’t think she’d do well with bare feet.
Speaking of other characters that you’ve played, is there another one that you’d like to revisit?
I don’t know if it will happen, but I loved playing Poppins so much. I don’t necessarily like to revisit parts I’ve already done, but the ones that I had that I found to be kind of joyous, I would think about it.
Would you find it interesting to test your survival skills in real life?
No. The thing I’m really truly terrible at is things like directions and map reading and I wouldn’t know how to read a compass if you paid me. I don’t know where I’m going walking down a street I’ve walked down 50 times. I have no sense of direction, so I think I would not do well surviving anything following a map.
How was it working with John again?
Well, I think I was happy that he was behind the lens more for this one, because it’s a much more ambitious film. If he were in it, it would just slow things down and he wouldn’t be able to be as detailed and nuanced. I think he has such a powerful vision that he really got to spread his wings on this one because he wasn’t bogged down with having to be a part of the scene as well.
If you could, would you love to always work with your family?
I think it has to be the right project. It’s amazing. It’s incredible, you love it, but then I think John and I are also quite realistic about how blessed we are with this experience, and Quiet Place was so much bigger than our marriage. It became so much bigger than the thought of John and I working together as a married couple. It took on a whole life past he and I and we recognise that. But I don’t think we should, or I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone all the time. I like the great unknown. I like jumping into a new environment, a new set of people, and I love the social aspect of it, and I like not knowing what’s next.
Looking back at your career, in your opinion which are the movies that made you feel, ‘okay I’ve reached another level of my work’?
It’s felt such a gradual progression for me nothing has felt meteoric in that sense. I would say the big shift was probably Devil Wears Prada, though. That’s the one I remember feeling, “Okay, well this is the starting point of me being much more in the conversation.” That felt like a launch pad because I think everyone saw it and everyone loved it.