How ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Director John Krasinski Sold Wife Emily Blunt on the Horror Sequel

Horror movies are notorious for their jumpscares. And yet, the genre’s biggest recent shocks have been the actor-turned-directors who have shaped the future of horror. First, Jordan Peele changed modern horror with his Oscar-winning Get Out. Then, a year later, John Krasinski redefined his own career with A Quiet Place.

Prior to its release, Krasinski had only directed 2016’s comedy-drama The Hollars. But he was still mostly known as Jim from The Office. Now with a horror blockbuster under his belt, Krasinski ventures into the perilous world of horror sequels with A Quiet Place Part II. Yet, before he officially launched the project, he had to convince one person: his wife, Emily Blunt.

John Krasinski and Emily Blunt at the world premiere of 'A Quiet Place Part II'
John Krasinski and Emily Blunt at the world premiere of ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

‘A Quiet Place’ was a huge box office smash in 2018

Made for just $17 million, A Quiet Place went on to make $340 million worldwide. Focusing on a single family, the movie takes place in a world where the planet is overrun by alien creatures who rely on their hearing to hunt down unsuspecting humans.

This fundamental concept — staying silent in a noisy world — created an allure that mainstream audiences couldn’t ignore. The film’s sound design received unanimous praise, even earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Sound Editing. The compelling performances by Krasinski, Blunt, and rising stars Millicent Simmonds (Wonderstruck) and Noah Jupe (Honey Boy) also helped the film stand out.

Blunt even won a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. The way the film ends, the central family must adjust to a new status quo. Yet, despite Blunt’s character being set up for a more central role going forward, a sequel wasn’t something Krasinski had in mind at first.

A sequel wasn’t a sure thing, especially for Emily Blunt

Even after the first film’s success, A Quiet Place Part II isn’t something Krasinski was counting on happening. After all, horror sequels often present diminishing returns. But Blunt said this second film works because it doesn’t attempt a whole new story but builds on what came before.

“You shouldn’t think of it as being comparative,” she told Variety. “You’d want it to match and be loyal to the tone of it. Our world expands and gets bigger, but it has the same intense muscularity of the first one.”

Considering the film’s post-apocalyptic setting, it would have been easy for A Quiet Place Part II to take an anthology approach. Certainly, other people out there are contending with the film’s deadly environment in their own ways. But Blunt and Krasinski realized it was this single family’s plight that drew audiences.

“We had to recognize what people wanted to see, which was not necessarily a whole other side of the world and what happened there,” Blunt said. “It was what happened to this family next. We just approached it as a page turn.”

But John Krasinski won her over for ‘A Quiet Place Part II’

When discussions began for A Quiet Place Part II, Blunt, in particular, wasn’t convinced it was a good idea. However, once Krasinski shared his vision for the opening sequence, she saw the potential in it. As seen in the trailers, A Quiet Place Part II kicks off with an intense flashback centering on Blunt’s character.

“He pitched me the opening, and I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ [It was] undeniably great, and I realized I would have been an idiot not to want to be in that opening sequence,” Blunt told Variety. “We had to surrender to the idea that we wanted to do it and lose our snobbery.”

Will A Quiet Place Part II provide a satisfying continuation of what made the first film work so well? We’ll find out when the film hits theaters on March 20, 2020.