After an eight-year comedic run on TV’s “The Office,” John Krasinski reinvented himself as a leading man in the rough-and-tumble Amazon version of Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan.” About that same time he also directed “A Quiet Place,” a post-apocalyptic horror story about a family hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.
Krasinski has been described as “an affable actor-director who hadn’t made a mark as a commercial filmmaker until he made this original movie.” He saw it as his chance to break away from lingering typecasting as that goofy character in “The Office.”
Even though the movie was a sci-fi outing, he felt it delivered a much larger message: a testament to “parenthood and the strength of the family.”
Taking the lead role for himself, Krasinski smartly cast his real-life wife Emily Blunt (“The Return of Mary Poppins”) as his movie wife and added four children – a deaf daughter, two sons, and a newborn baby. One of the sons gets killed off early on in the film, when his battery-power toy makes a noise revealing his position to the rapacious sound-attuned creatures.
Casting deaf-in-real-life Millicent Simmons as the daughter was another good move. After all, as the title implies, this movie is about living in silence. There’s very little dialogue in the entire film. Sign language and her experimental hearing aid play significant parts in this story.
Being that “A Quiet Place” is now three years old, we won’t consider it a spoiler to tell you Lee Abbott (Krasinski) sacrifices his life to save his family from the monsters.
But this dystopian survival story was ripe for a sequel.
And Paramount Pictures was eager to make one. The first film cost only $17 million to make (it had a small cast, simple sets), but raked in some $340 million in worldwide ticket sales. A tidy profit.
After a little negotiation, Krasinski agreed to write a script and direct “A Quiet Place Part II.” What’s more, he could deliver Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe to reprise their roles. And although his character was dead, Krasinski could do a cameo in flashbacks.
The ink hardly dry, Krasinski came up with the “Part II” screenplay in a three-and-a-half-week burst of nervous energy.
So where does “A Quiet Place Part II” go with this hold-your-breath story?
“If the original was about the promise that all parents make to their kids, that I will always be there and protect you,” Krasinski says, “then at some point, that promise has to be broken. So the second movie is about once that promise is broken, how do you survive on your own?”
The storyline picks up moments after the first movie ends, with Evelyn Abbott (Blunt) and her children making a run for it. However, young Marcus (Jupe) gets caught in a bear trap, the sound attracting more monsters. So they are forced to take refuge with Emmett (“Peaky Blinders” star Cillian Murphy), a world-weary neighbor who happens to have a secure compound.
But how does Evelyn and her kids stay safe? The monsters are still roaming about out there, listening for the slightest sound that will help them zero in on their prey.
Turns out, the Abbotts pick up a radio signal that’s playing the song “Across The Sea” on a continuous loop. It seems to be coming from a nearby island.
Headstrong Regan (Simmonds) sets off for the island with curious Emmett in tow. Her mom stays behind with the baby and injured Marcus, foraging for food while being stalked by one of the creatures.
On their perilous journey, Regan and Emmett encounter dangerous tribes of people as well as more monsters, but you won’t be surprised to learn that they manage to make it to the island. There, a colony of people live a normal existence, safely isolated on the from the monsters who cannot swim.
But maybe things aren’t as safe as they seem.
After premiering in New York City back in March 2020, the release of “A Quiet Place Part II” got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now it is finally debuting in theaters – including Tropic Cinema’s screens as well as the Tropic’s Outdoor Theater at Fort East Martello. And then after a 45-day embargo you can catch it on the new streaming video platform, Paramount +.
John Krasinski says he has spent the past year hovering “somewhere between optimism and naïveté” waiting for “A Quiet Place Part II” to be released. “It was just the most bizarre circumstance,” he says. “What is the fate of this movie? When do people see it? How do they see it? Do they see it? That started to get pretty weird.”
While Krasinski is hesitant to make predictions about the sequel’s success (“I have no idea what’s going to happen with the box office,” he says), Paramount hopes that “A Quiet Place” might become a franchise in its own right – like the studio’s other legacy properties – “Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Transformers.” It has already signed Jeff Nichols (“Midnight Special”) to write and direct a third film in the “Quiet Place” series that Krasinski will help produce.
That’s a lot of quietude.
Email Shirrel: firstname.lastname@example.org