Even though it only released in April, the success of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is easy to take for granted now. With a sequel on the way, and the movie finding a not-so-quiet place in the hearts of horror fans alongside other recent sleeper hits like Get Out, it’s a burgeoning franchise that already feels well lived-in.
But Krasinski says none of it would have happened if not for an important comedy lesson he learned during his nine-year stint playing Jim on NBC’s The Office — a lesson he only later realized didn’t just apply to comedy, but to good filmmaking in general.
Show creator Greg Daniels, the comic mastermind who’s also had a heavy hand in the success of comedies like Parks and Recreation and King of the Hill, offered Krasinski a piece of advice that opened up the possibilities of horror — a genre Krasinski’s on record as initially having being terrified to enter.
“It’s funny; it goes all the way back to The Office,” he recently explained to The Big Picture podcast crew. ”I remember Greg Daniels, who’s the creator of the show — he said to me one day, ‘You know, your job is not to deliver these lines 'funny.' Your job is just to deliver these lines — and if people think they’re funny, it’s funny…You’re supposed to be a real person — just deliver it.’
“Obviously that was a mockumentary, but it actually served me throughout my entire career, and — not to overstate it, but it’s true: if he hadn’t told me that, I don’t think I would have done this movie. Because again, if I had gone into it thinking, ‘I’m gonna make a creature feature and horror movie,’ I would have failed miserably.”
Playing it straight for the audience, and delivering a dramatic family story inside the “trojan horse” of a genre movie, as Krasinski put it, has worked for other recent horror films he already admired.
“The first thing I realized in catching up with genre is how ignorant I was to not be watching genre all that time, because certainly in the last five or ten years, I think some of the best filmmaking is in genre,” he said, checking off a list of dramatic horror films including Let the Right One In (“One of the best love stories I’ve ever seen in my life, and it just so happens to be she’s a vampire”), The Witch, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
“I’m a huge fan of Jordan’s, and i’m a huge fan of that movie,” Krasinski confessed.
Krasinski’s busy penning the follow-up to A Quiet Place now, and he’s careful to frame the upcoming movie as an expansion of its lore and setting, rather than as a direct sequel. We’re still waiting (quietly) for information on whether real-life wife and co-star Emily Blunt will return for an encore, as well as news of a release date. In the meantime, though, you can sneak back to A Quiet Place anytime, via your favorite home video platform.