Ahead of the release of A Quiet Place on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow (August 13), we've got an exclusive interview with leading lady Emily Blunt to share, where she discusses her character Evelyn, working with director John Krasinski and more. Read on to find out what she had to say...
Tell us about the story and the characters involved...
So you meet a family at the beginning of the film, and they're living rather mysteriously. They are behaving quite strangely. They are a very united, very close family. But they seem to be living silently, and you're confused as to why. And then throughout the first opening act of the film they go through something incredibly traumatic.
They lose one of their children because he makes a sound. And so it's a very simple concept to grasp. Basically if you make sound you die because if you make sound these creatures will come and get you, and there's been an invasion. And you're realising that most of the earth has been wiped out. And this family is surviving. They're attempting to actually thrive as well as a family.
And they have a deaf daughter, so they are very, very good at living silently. They all know sign language. But that's the real challenge they face, a family with young children who have to live silently.
So, what's the dynamic in this environment?
Well, it's an incredible environment to be growing up in. They are constantly afraid. And they're a family that's grieving. So you’ve got a very weighty world for these children to have to live in. And there's a lot of guilt. There's a huge need to communicate. And if a family needs to communicate it's this family, and they're unable to. And that's really challenging.
Set up the threat...
Well, the interesting thing about these creatures is that their ability to hear and to pick up on sound is so exaggerated that you really have to find ways and methods of living completely and utterly silently. They also kill in a sort of rageful frenzy, as if the sound is painful to them.
And it's not that they're killing to eat necessarily. It's just that - it's just to decimate anything that makes any noise. So it is a complete take over by these creatures.
What initially drew you to the script?
Well, it's funny 'cause I've just been talking about the creatures, but to me the creatures were always so secondary to what I fell in love with with the screenplay that for me in many ways as a mother of two girls it sort of represented my deepest fear of not being able to protect your children. And what must that feel like? And it scared me to take on this role. And I found the depth and beauty of it to sort of surpass anything to do with the fact that there's aliens in it.
You know, the stakes are so sky high that I was on the - it was like I was racing through the screenplay. And my husband obviously wrote it. And I had initially told him to hire a friend of mine who's an actress. And then I read it, and I was like she's not playing this role. I need to play this role. And we’d never worked together.
And that was really exciting for us actually that the concept of this movie and just what a spectacular idea it was, and what a beautiful script it was seemed more than our marriage in some ways. The concept was bigger than us. And so that was a big decision for us to work on the same project and be directed by my husband. But it was incredible really.
What conversations did you have with director John Krasinski?
Well, I think if you're a parent it inevitably, for me, I have felt completely shifted by the arrival of my two children in my life. And like a gaping wound for anything to do with children or the loss of children or anything like that is just like the depths of hell for me to even think about. So we did approach it with great vulnerability I think. You know, we’d just become parents of our second kid. And John was writing the screenplay when our little one was four months old.
And that idea of how far you would go to protect your children was something that resonated really powerfully with us both. And also the idea of the father representing the person who just wanted to make sure this family survived. And the mother wanted to make sure that the family thrived also. So you get both halves, the feminine half and the masculine half and how people deal with grief very differently.
And how people deal with trauma and a heightened dangerous environment very differently. So the dynamics between all the characters and the parents and their children was something that required great detail actually and intrigue because there are no words. And so we just had to create a relationship with the children that felt very, very real.
What's it like to be a parent in this world?
Well, you find out throughout the film that Evelyn is heavily pregnant, like really ready to pop. And so for most people that is a joyous occurrence. And for them it's a complicated element. They are excited. There's a thrill there. There's also a deep fear. So how are we gonna survive? How are you gonna give birth silently, number one?
Which I know would be impossible. But how do you train a baby not to make sound? And so they do take precautions. They’ve created a safe room, which is sound proofed, and Lee has prepared this like to the nines. They’ve sound proofed all the walls. And they have mattresses and quilts and pillows and everything. And they also have a box that they’ve created for the baby with a little baby mask coming out of it to-- if the baby’s really crying.
But it's the great unknown, isn't it? It's sort of you're entering into something that should be so exciting. And it's so very frightening for this family 'cause they don't know if this sound proofing is gonna work. They don't know how they're gonna survive it.
What about the use of sand?
Well, they're a family that's really accustomed to sign language anyway because they have a deaf daughter. So this is something that they’ve been doing for a long time. They're very adept at it. But there's other ways of living silently. Lee creates sand paths around their house so that when they walk on the sand it doesn’t create the noise that you would get walking on gravel or something like that. They don't have glasses, plates, anything.
They eat with their hands. He's created ways of fishing with sort of baskets in the river, and this is how he catches food. This is how they survive. She has a vegetable garden. They - she - it's sort of a real old Americana image of Evelyn hanging out the clothes to dry where like there's no washing machines. There's no dryers. They're living incredibly rustically and very frugally. And it's a very spare life.
What was it like to see Noah [Jupe] and Millie [Simmonds] communicate with each other?
Yeah, I mean Millie and Noah are just extraordinary people. We thanked our lucky stars every night for those guys because they're just so special. And you really see it in kids, the kids who can really act. They can just really do it. The air shifts in the room when they do what they do. And they were so loving with each other.
And Noah just like dove in head first to learning sign language and was way better than John and I by the end of it and was fully communicating with Millie back and forth. And it was absolute agony watching them say goodbye to each other when the process ended 'cause they just became siblings. They became desperately close.
Were you familiar with sign language prior to filming?
I was not at all familiar. So I feel like I know the basics now. And then I learnt my lines really well, and I really tried to communicate with Millie as much as I could. But it was really incredible watching her work because we had a fantastic interpreter on set. And John would be giving her notes. And Millie would be looking at John for the intention of what he meant, and then she’d just glance to his side to see the real translation.
It was just remarkable watching her work, and she just blossomed on the shoot. I feel like she just, she came in kind of shy. And by the end she was just joking around, and all the crew loved her. And she does some scenes in this, I mean they both do, that just sort of blow your hair back. They're so beautiful in it.
Were you looking to work with John on a movie?
Well, you know, we’d been asked to work together before. We’d been sent some romantic comedies and stuff like that, which we really don't want to do. And that was not really of interest. We were thinking of doing a play together 'cause that was almost less exposure in some ways. But we just hadn't found the right thing, and I think I felt more protected on this because he was at the helm of it. So he could control like what really is getting out there. And, actually, I think because we are married--
I think it was so beneficial to this movie and to this dynamic and this experience. And I felt so valued by him, creatively. I've always felt valued as his wife and mother of his kids. But just so valued creatively. We were so, just so on the same page. And I think we were scared. Like we were nervous to work together. I thought maybe we’d kill each other, you know?
But actually it was kind of amazing. I'm not crying. It's just the sun I promise.
What was it like to see him in the role of a director?
Like awesome seeing him as a director. It was - I feel like John is one of these very multi-faceted, multi-talented great brains. And his ability for not only stress management, which I think comes with directing, but producing and writing and wearing all the hats and doing it relatively effortlessly or at least hiding the effort from me and our family.
It's something I just-- I just admire him so much, and I think he's found the glove that fits really. I think he's found something that I don't think it's enough for John just to be an actor. I think actually it's just not enough for him anymore. And I think that this is really-- this film represents who he is and what he feels about the world. And I've always known his ability to do all of these things. And I think the world is about to find out.
How did he find the location for filming?
He is a wiz with that. He just was obsessive. He just was online all the time. He was looking at properties, farms for sale, and I think that farm was for sale. I don't think it was for - and so that's where he found it. And it just happened to be-- it was just honestly like a magic trick. It was exactly what he had dreamt up in his head, and there it was this location. It was like someone had handed him a gift. I mean everyone who came to that set was like how did you find this? Oh, my God.
What did John bring to his role when in front of the camera?
I mean, look, everybody knows John as, you know, he's so funny. He's so witty and smart. But he's also kind of fierce and kind of a force to be reckoned with. And I think that with Lee you have somebody who's deeply masculine and a very, very, very old school kinda guy, which I don't think John is necessarily. You know, he's so progressive, and he's so emotional and open.
And yet Lee represents a lot of men that he and I both know of men who become quite shut down. And the need to protect and provide takes over a sort of emotional release that we all need in our lives. And so Lee becomes utterly guilt-ridden for most of the film. He's in pain. He's a character who's in pain.
I mean everybody is. Everyone’s in pain in the family. And everyone’s trying to overcome something.
How would you explain your character to those new to the film?
Well, I just connected more than anything with her loving, nurturing way. She's just spectacularly loving and nurturing. And her need to make sure that this family has an opportunity to also thrive in this incredibly challenging world. And she perseveres with school lessons, with making jokes with her kids to loving them and hugging them, holding them, like drinking them in, wanting only to protect them.
But she lives in just abject fear of losing them, abject terror of losing her children. And here she is now heavily pregnant. And this is gonna be another challenge she's gonna have to overcome. And but she's fierce. I think just because she's loving and nurturing it doesn’t mean that she's weak.
Why would you say this movie is timely?
Well, I just think - I think the film - what I love most about this movie is that it doesn’t show all its cards. It leaves so much to interpretation. It's so smart and really ambitious. It's really ambitious. It's not derivative of anything else that I've seen out there.
And so to be a part of something that's got that feeling of courage about it, right, it's courageous to make an effectively silent film that is effective that is not boring that still grips people that people feel a endless anxiety attack watching I want to be a part of that movie.
It's an original take on the horror genre...
It is. It is. And John and I’s favourite film, or one of - certainly my favourite, one of his is Jaws. And the thing that I love about Jaws is it's not even about the shark. It's about the men on the boat and what they're having to overcome. And that's what he wanted to make is an homage to Jaws really.
What do you hope the audience loves about this movie?
Well, I hope they love the scares. I mean you got to hope that they're just like shooting out of their seats. It is the most tense, uncomfortable film to the point that when I watch it I spend the whole time going, oh, I hate it, oh, I hate it, oh, my God, I hate it, I hate it, which means I love it really just 'cause it's so effective.
I hope that they connect with this family and see themselves in this insane position that this family has put themselves in.
A Quiet Place is out now on Digital and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on August 13, 2018.
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