Silent films went extinct when Al Jolson introduced the world to "talkies" in 1927 with The Jazz Singer. However, 13 Hours actor John Krasinski intends to utilize the art form of silent cinema with his directorial debut, A Quiet Place. The horror movie (out April 6) centers on a family living on a farm in the middle of the woods who must carry out their lives completely without speaking, lest they attract a supernatural presence to their door. It's an extremely intriguing premise, evoking the classic Agnes Moorehead episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Invaders," which finds a mute woman living alone in an isolated cabin who is terrorized by an unknown presence. A Quiet Place co-stars Krasinski's real-life spouse, Emily Blunt, as his wife in the film.
Speaking to IGN, Krasinski said that the entire film crew attempted to be as quiet as possible during production to make the family's plight that much more authentic.
"I think there was a sense among the crew, at least for the first few weeks, that it was a silent movie so we can just hit 'mute' if need be," he said. "They thought they could talk and we'd just cut it all out of the movie. So we really had to condition everybody that we needed the exact opposite. That we needed all this production sound, all this silence."
Nevertheless, making a feature entirely devoid of human speech isn't as easy as it sounds, with the director describing it as a sort of "magic trick."
"One of the fears was 'Can we pull this off?' and I'm happy to say that we did," Krasinski said. "The idea of silence can be jarring in many ways, and so off-putting, that it gives the movie a tone that other movies don't have."
To really nail the suspense and psychological tension, he watched Hitchcockian thrillers as well as Jaws and Alien, which all had an influence on Krasinski's rewrite of Scott Beck and Bryan Woods' spec original script. In fact, he claimed to have watched Spielberg's classic killer shark blockbuster eight times.
"Really the movie's about three men dealing with their own fears and what they want to accomplish in their lives, and the shark is this backdrop," he said. "There's something powerful about that idea that I hoped to bring to this movie."