Quiet Place, A: Interview with Star Emily Blunt (also Wife of Director John Krasinski)

In John Krasinksi’s well directed horror thriller, A Quiet Place, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after mysterious creatures that hunt by sound threaten their survival. If they hear you, they hunt you.

Interview with star Emily Blunt (who happens to be Krasinski’s real wife)


Contributing Ideas

Emily Blunt: The kind of suggestions I gave John was you have no idea what it feels like, so let me just take the reins on this one, when it comes to your notes.  It was definitely incredibly helpful that I had gone through two births with my own kids, so that was a lot to draw on.  And I mean the whole sequence, the whole childbirth sequence we shot over the course of a week, and it was the most draining sequence, the most physically demanding sequence and gut wrenching sequence to sort of shoot. And John luckily is a very economical shooter in the sense that he was like you can just do two takes, I have got it.  And so I was like you got it.  And the scream, I probably did one take and he was like we have it, we have it, you don’t have to do it again.  So it was very intense, very intense stuff.


Anxieties as Mother

EB: The emotional core of the film was the reason for me wanting to jump at it.  I was also intimidated by the idea of playing a character who experiences my own deepest fears as a mother, of not being able to protect my children. It’s definitely in that way felt a bit like uncharted territory, that I usually play a part that offers some kind of escapism.  And this was a very confrontational experience going through this film with my own fears.  And I think that really the reason why you are so frightened in this film is partly because you are invested in their plight as a family.  That’s ultimately why I have watched “Jaws” 30 times, because it’s not about the shark chomping off people’s legs, it’s not about that, it’s about these three men trying to overcome something.  And that is why I keep watching it.


Feet and Shoes

EB: My feet, I was in such desperate need of a pedicure at the end of this film, my feet were hideous by the time I was done.  I never wore my fake feet, I was completely weirded out by them and I would rather get blisters and some horrible foot infection than wear those, they are so weird looking.


Collaborating with Husband Director Krasinski

EB: We had a lot of whisky on this film.  Most nights were rounded with a stiff drink of whiskey.  And it was really nerve wracking, the prospect of working together if I am honest, because I think we didn’t know how our processes were going to align, whether we were going to be creatively in tandem with each other or whether we were going to crash heads too much, whether we were going to be able to afford each other the same diplomacy I would any other director.  And whether I would be like no, I am not doing it like that. But in some ways, we realized that we have the ultimate trust and this is a relationship in life and in work that we had the ultimate trust in each other. That shorthand was exhilarating cause we were able to also discover a new side to each other and we had never seen each other in an eye to eye sense in the workplace. We had always heard about it secondhand and been the sort of support system for the other and it’s a very insular experience that they were going through.  This just felt very intimate and exciting to work together. Because I found it so effortless working with him, I would like him to do much more with me.  I want him to rewrite every script I get sent basically.


The Script

EB: Did I ask him to marry me? Did I propose the script to him?  Yes, I did.  He had been sent it as an actor and he discovered that he very much had a connection to it.  And I remember we just had our second daughter and we were sitting on the couch, and he walked through the door and he pitched me the idea, and I went you need to direct that movie.  I said I can see it in you, you have struck gold here, there is something here and you have connected to it.  And I had originally suggested a friend of mine to play the part, and then I read the script and went, you need to call her and tell her it’s not happening. My friend is so great that, she was like, John called and he was like, so you know how we called you about it, and she went oh my God, you are firing me.  And he was like, yes and she goes, is it for Emily?  And he goes yes, and she goes, okay, that’s fine.


Beauty and Power of Silence

EB: I do actually quite enjoy my own silent company.  I feel like my life is pretty loud and is dialogue heavy, because I am constantly negotiating with my two young children.  The moments for me when I get to drive in a car, and I actually now don’t even listen to music sometimes, just to have complete peace and serenity.  I feel like my quiet place is usually in my car when I am by myself, which is very rare.

The power of silence, I think not only does it reveal itself to be a very arresting thing to watch cinematically, but I think you need to be in a happy place, a comfortable place, where you can just sit with people and not feel the need to talk, it’s a good time.


Silent Language with Millicent

EB: I was nervous to do it in front of her at first, because I didn’t want her to be like my God, that’s not what that means. She was so loving and she is such an angel of a person and they both, her and Noah, are both incredibly profound people and rich in their nuance and how they see the world, they are sort of sages, like old souls.  And so it was very special working with them because there wasn’t any of the wrangling you sort of feel you have to do working with children, it was incredibly easy and they were such pros.  And learning the sign language and seeing how much the crew embraced Millie and tried to learn sign language themselves, and wanted to communicate with her, I could see her just blossoming over the course of the process. And she admitted last night in the Q&A that she was very nervous to come into this, to work with actors who aren’t deaf and to be amongst so many people who are not deaf.  And nervous that she wouldn’t be accepted, nervous that she wouldn’t be included and she said it was so the opposite.  And even people’s dreadful attempts at sign language were sort of welcomed by her and her family and they both have great mothers, both of those kids, incredible mothers. That helps a lot.


Personal Life

EB: This film, neither of my children should see until they are least 40. I don’t know if it’s been necessarily a conscious effort to want to play parts that are more representative of where I am in my life, because actually, someone like Mary Poppins, even though she does have this enigmatic master plan for these children and ultimately brings a lot of joy, she’s wonderfully irreverent about the whole thing and not necessarily warm and fuzzy.  I don’t think that was necessarily a nurturing role in many ways.  But I do feel that I am more aware of what I am putting out into the world now. I would say much, that I don’t necessarily warm to certain roles or certain projects in the way that I am used to, ones that are just, I don’t know, defiantly violent or defiantly cold.  I need to find an in and if I haven’t found an in with somebody or with the character or with the director or with the film, then I have become so much more selective about when I work and what it is and who it’s with.  Cause it costs you so much emotionally to be away from your kids, as I am sure everyone here with children understands.  And when I go to work, you work very, very long days.  And so I am so selective about when it is, that I do it.


John’s Beard

EB: The beard is like a take on an old friend that sort of stuck around.  Occasionally I am like you have to do it, it’s just so big, just like thin it out. He grows a really great beard.  And the kids prefer him with a beard now interestingly.


John as Director

EB: He has just sweat bullets over the past 18 months for this film and it has been so all-consuming for him and it’s a very stressful job and he manages it so beautifully.  But I think the multi-faceted abilities that you need to have as a director, fits John like a glove.  He’s so entrepreneurial and he’s such a thinker and he strives for so much more than most actors do and cares so deeply about the script and the scene, that I think that this is the glove that fits for him really.



EB: I don’t believe starting out that I was a terribly ambitious actress. I came into it kind of late and I did not have the burning desire for it my entire childhood. I was never planning on being an actress, and I was going to go to University and my mother is great linguist, so I wanted to be just like her and I wanted to do modern languages and be a translator.  So when I sort of fell into this and an agent saw a school play I did and said oh you are good, you should do this, I was like okay.  I was 17, I didn’t know, I sort of shrugged my shoulders.  And it’s not to sound cavalier about it, it just wasn’t in my plan, it was not what I was wanting to do.  So I remember doing my first play and my first job and I was working with Judi Dench, and it was so thrilling and it was such a familial atmosphere and I remember saying to my agent, I am getting $400 a week, oh my God!  It was like, I had never seen that much money in my life and I just couldn’t believe it.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I was.  So I didn’t have any of these feelings of like what’s next, what’s next, what’s next?  I never had that feeling going into it.  And now as I have lived in the industry for a long time and it’s embraced me and I am so grateful.  And I am also aware of how much I have had to kind of put a helmet on and there’s tough sides of it and there’s sides where you have to kind of readjust.  But I am reclaiming the idea of ambition as being a positive thing, it should be a positive thing.  And I want my children to find something that they want to do. It is a job that I have fallen in love with as the years have gone on, but it was never in the plan.  So when you ask if I foresaw any of this, no, definitely not.


John as Director

EB: I have been honest with him too. I underestimated just how visually clear he was on this film.  The vision he had for how it should be shot, the shots that he wanted, all those little nuances and details of how he saw the camera moving, was what I was most surprised by. And we had an incredible DP in Charlotte, who is just an incredible talent and lit it so beautifully, and they were very collaborative working together. I underestimated his ability for being as visually ambitious as he was.


Survival in Difficult Situations

EB: No, I am not very good in those situations.  I tend to panic.  It’s so awful.  And it’s so great watching.  And we spent the whole night last night watching the film, holding each other’s hands and shaking with laughter.  Cause it was just an extraordinary experience watching the film with an audience who were screaming at the screen.  It was so cool to see all the things we felt about the film realized and we were watching it for the first time.  So when I turn on the light even to go down the stairs, people were like, no, no, no!  Like there was already, we just were crying with laughter and it was so cool.


Mary Poppins

EB: It was the most magical experience, because Rob Marshall is so loving and nurturing, he made it feel like an intimate experience and less of what I worried it would be, which would feel like a boulder to move out of the way to try and re-imagine this character that is so beloved, and played by an iconic actress like Julie Andrews.  Ultimately, I didn’t end up watching the original film.  I had seen it as a child, so that image was sort of emblazoned into my memory, but I had never watched the film during the process, and I just read the books.  So this will be my version of her.  However people view it, it’s my version of her.  And I hope people like it.  I took her from the books and she is batty in the books, she is eccentric and incredibly vain.  And it was a joy, just a joy to play somebody who knows that she is better than everybody, but ultimately has this incredibly warm core that there is this plan that she takes people on.  She is magical, she loves the plan, she loves the journey.


New Projects

EB: I’m going to do a film with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson called ‘Jungle Cruise” and it’s very much inspired by “The African Queen” and “Romancing the Stone” which were my favorite films as a child.  It was a very nostalgic thing reading the script.  And he is just a gem, so I was excited to work with him. We are in Kawaii, and Atlanta, which is not Kawaii, it will be fun.


Differences with John

EB: We dot a line with our time management skills.  I will say I am very good at planning when you leave and when you go to the airport, and John has zero concept of date or time and is always late, and just has no idea.  I will say to him, so tonight, we are going to go out with Jen and Johnny at 7:30 and he will be like great, we should see a movie tonight.  I was like, I just said, 7:30 we are going to Dinner, did you hear?  It’s like it goes in one ear and out the other.  So that’s probably the thing.  So he calls me “time mode.”  I get in a time mode with things like going to the airport and I cease to be any fun and I don’t speak to him.  He is usually packing his bag at 5 AM when I have planned it for two days, and that is probably the thing we differ on the most.