Belfast Telegraph

John Krasinski talks working with wife Emily Blunt: I don't think I've had a better collaboration in my career

Working with your spouse can be a risky business but, as John Krasinski and Emily Blunt discovered while filming near-silent thriller A Quiet Place, teaming up can pay off. Georgia Humphreys finds out more

Emily Blunt with director husband John Krasinski
Emily Blunt with director husband John Krasinski
Screen queen: Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place
Emily Blunt on the red carpet

From the first glance of the poster for A Quiet Place, the film looks utterly terrifying, so you might be surprised to hear that its British star, Emily Blunt, whose husband, John Krasinski, directed and also stars in the film, isn't normally a fan of horror films.

"John did his research and watched every horror film under the sun. I'm afraid he did it alone because I was like, 'I do not need to see any of that'," Blunt (35) declares softly, brushing a wave of shoulder-length blonde hair out of her face.

"I would be traumatised... I don't want to see a clown terrorising people. It's not something I need to see."

It's not a genre Massachusetts-born Krasinski (38) has always been comfortable with either.

"I'm now a huge horror fan, but I wasn't always good with it - I was a scaredy-cat, I think is the technical term," he says. "It's very odd that I would choose to do a movie like this."

The excitingly original thriller sees the Hollywood pair play Lee and Evelyn Abbott, a couple desperately trying to keep their children safe from monsters that hunt based on sound.

Therefore, the family is forced to navigate their entire lives in silence.

"We found with A Quiet Place that it (horror) is the most incredible genre to create suspense and tension and also to carve out new space for yourself within the genre," Blunt - who later this year will star as Mary Poppins in the long-awaited Disney sequel - says animatedly.

"You can create a film that's really about family, yet you've got this heightened backdrop that really makes for great cinema."

Smiley, 6ft 4in Krasinski, who's currently rocking the full beard he sports in the film, cracks jokes as easily as you'd expect - he's best known for playing Jim Halpert in the US version of The Office.

But discussing what drew him to A Quiet Place, the father-of-two - Hazel is four and Violet 23 months - takes on a more serious tone, revealing he saw it as a metaphor for parenthood.

"Three weeks after Emily gave birth to our second daughter, I was an open nerve with tension and fear of keeping her alive and (the idea of) 'Was I a good enough person to be her dad?'," he confides. "All these big themes were in my head already.

"Then the first draft of the script comes in and, yes, it's so scary and it's so exciting and it's so much fun, but I was blown away at how moved I was by the much smaller intimacy of a family, and trying to survive only relying on each other, and the idea of, 'What extremes would you go to to protect your kids?'"

The film is set in the very near future, when the world has been all but ended by an apocalyptic event. The Abbotts are amongst the few remaining survivors, living on a farm in the middle of nowhere.

Because their daughter, Regan (played by Millicent Simmonds), is deaf, the whole family knows American Sign Language, which helps them to stay safe.

But the creatures can pop out in any place and at any time as soon as they hear noise.

So there are, of course, some nail-bitingly traumatic scenes in the film - particularly involving the pregnant character played by Blunt, who also impressed in dark mystery thriller The Girl On The Train.

While you might think the London-born actress would struggle to switch off after a day of shooting, she maintains she finds it "relatively easy".

"That's not to say that I'm not wiped out by the end of the day with certain scenes - and certain scenes are more traumatic to do than others," she explains of filming A Quiet Place.

"But I need to actually be in quite a happy place in order to go there. It's not what everyone likes, but I don't do the method thing."

Throwing her head back with a hearty chuckle, she adds: "I also probably wouldn't be able to anyway with my two kids... expecting them to speak silently at home."

It was the idea of not having a lot of dialogue in the film that Krasinski was both most excited and most worried about ahead of directing his third feature.

"I knew that if it worked it would be what makes our movie special, but you have to trust that," he admits.

"Then, (on) day two or three, I really started watching and, especially Emily doing scenes with the kids, you see the unbelievable power that's coming from this raw emotion."

It's undeniable Krasinski is full of admiration for his wife of seven years, who he met through a mutual friend in 2008.

However, he's honest about the nerves he had before working with Blunt on screen for the first time.

"I was nervous because we had developed our own process," he says.

"Because we're both in the same business, people think we have the same experience, (but) we actually have very different experiences.

"It's hard to take the, I don't know, 15 or 20-odd years of experience that I have, and around that for her too, and say, 'I know what I'm doing, my ideas are better than yours'.That's what I was the most fearful of."

So how did Krasinksi overcome these concerns?

"The tack I took was basically, 'Let's treat this like our marriage - let's be as honest as possible the entire time so that things don't flare up past the conversation'," he says.

"I don't think I've had a better collaboration in my career. She was so supportive. She was there in the scenes that she was in and she was right next to me in the scenes she wasn't in - she was always around behind the monitors."

With the film receiving rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, the partnership on screen has clearly been a success.

"We just got on set and it was really fluid," recalls Blunt fondly, "and fun, and collaborative - and just exciting."

A Quiet Place is in cinemas now

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