These A Quiet Place behind-the-scenes stories tell the tale of a film that on paper should not have been a hit. Prior to the surprise box-office smash, newbie director John Krasinski was still widely known as Jim Halpert from The Office. Yet, A Quiet Place made an astonishing $340 million worldwide on just a $17 million budget.
A Quiet Place tells the post-apocalyptic story of evolved alien creatures who somehow land on Earth. They cannot see, but do have exceptional hearing. A Quiet Place’s high-concept premise is simple: If you make a sound, you die.
The plot makes for an extremely quiet movie. Packed theaters became so quiet that spectators were scared to munch on their popcorn. Coughs were muffled. In fact, audiences barely moved in fear of making a peep.
A Quiet Place has plenty of terrifying behind-the-scenes stories that you've probably never heard of.
The Bathtub Birth Scene Was So Intense That The Crew Couldn’t Look At Emily Blunt After Filming
Perhaps the most intense scene in a film inundated with intense scenes is when Emily Blunt's character Evelyn goes into labor. She is all alone in a bathtub with a monster lurking around just steps away.
If Evelyn makes a noise, she will die. But childbirth is painful, and screams seem like a mandatory part of the process.
Thanks to Blunt's excellent acting and perhaps her own personal experience of giving birth twice, the actress successfully conveys her extreme labor pain through silent screams. It was an intense scene for the actress to film. In fact, it became so emotional that the crew felt they could not look the English actress in the eyes after the scene wrapped. Director John Krasinski (and Blunt's husband) recalled:
She changes the air in the room. It’s not acting; it’s like you are witnessing a moment you shouldn’t be witnessing. I have a whole new respect for her. Only one guy would talk to her, and he said, "I don’t think we were supposed to watch that. None of us should have been there."
The Original Script Had Only One Line Of Dialogue
As college students, A Quiet Place screenwriters Scott Beck and Bryan Woods were obsessed with Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin silent movies. They loved the idea that the filmmakers could tell a visual story without the use of dialogue. "We wanted to do a modern-day silent film that lived in the suspense genre," Woods said.
They took their love of old silent movies and added their original idea: "If you make a sound, you die."
From that simple premise, Woods and Beck wrote a 21st-century version of a silent movie. Writing any screenplay is difficult; writing one without being able to use dialogue is almost impossible. Beck and Woods recalled:
Writing a silent movie isn’t easy. You can’t use dialogue as a crutch. And you can’t bore the reader with blocks of description. We hit our heads against the wall trying to break the story and silence the voices of everyone who said this idea wouldn’t work. Immediately we determined the script must feel as cinematic as the best version of the final film.
The first draft of their 67-page screenplay had only one line of dialogue. That's the script their agent sent to mega-producer Michael Bay, who just one week later agreed to produce the horror movie.
John Krasinski Used To Be Scared Of Horror Movies
John Krasinski had never directed a studio film before he stepped behind the camera for A Quiet Place. In fact, The Office star was not even a fan of horror movies. He told The Independent that a friend told him, "'I never pegged you to direct a horror movie.' And I said, 'Me neither,' because I couldn’t even watch horror movies."
Krasinski also said in a Vice interview:
I grew up in the '80s and '90s, which was mostly the slasher, Freddy Krueger, and Jason era. I just had no interest to invest in all that. Nothing good came out of that for me. I remember being at a friend's house, and they were going to watch Nightmare on Elm Street, and just as he’s about to put in the VCR tape... I just started to have a real anxiety attack.
Krasinski got himself up to speed on the genre by watching movies like Get Out and The Babadook. However, he became more interested in taking notes on what parts of the movies actually scared him.
"Instead of looking at others' movies and techniques and how to steal from certain things, I wrote down when I was scared - what things really made me nervous," Krasinski said. "And so, instead of visual style, it was about when I started to get tense. I started drawing out the tension in a different way, because of how it affected me."
John Krasinki Played The Monster In The Film
John Krasinksi co-wrote, directed, and starred in A Quiet Place. Why not add monster to the list, as well?
During an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Krasinski admitted to playing the monster in the movie. The talk show host even had a funny picture of Krasinski wearing the revealing motion-capture suit.
The original plan was not for the director to play the monster. However, Krasinski and the film's visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar had differing ideas on how to film the climactic scene when Evelyn and the two kids are stuck in the basement with the monster.
Krasinski explained his monster origin story:
Scott kept saying, "John, he's low to the ground, so we've got to make sure the camera knows he's low to the ground for eye line." And we were talking it through, and I finally said, "Yeah, that's not how I see it - I sort of see it like this." And Scott goes, "Just put on the suit, man"... So I went upstairs, put on the suit, still had my Vans on.
From there, Industrial Light and Magic added the CGI.