Undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of 2018 is A Quiet Place, the John Krasinski-directed horror film that surpassed box office expectations to gross over $340 million worldwide. Not only was the movie a huge hit with audiences at the box office, but it was a critical darling to boot. It’s an expertly crafted (read my interview with the cinematographer here), thoughtful meditation on family and parenting that just so happens to be packaged in a frightening and phenomenally-acted horror movie. It is, plain and simple, one of the best films of the year.
Given the box office and critical success, it was no surprise that Paramount Pictures began working on a sequel shortly after the first film was released. But while Krasinski initially said he wouldn’t be intimately involved in A Quiet Place 2, he subsequently agreed to write the film. The first movie has a number of emotional twists and turns, and it boasts one of the year’s most impactful endings, so there aren’t necessarily obvious directions to take the sequel. Moreover, the bigger issue is whether the magic of A Quiet Place can be recaptured in a follow-up.
During an insightful and engaging discussion on The Ringer’s The Big Picture podcast, Krasinski revealed why he changed his mind about signing on for A Quiet Place 2 (he stops short of outright saying he’s directing the sequel, but it sure sounds like it) and offered up some tantalizing details about the follow-up. When talk of a sequel first materialized, Krasinski said he didn’t begrudge the studio but also didn’t plan to be involved:
“Listen, I’m a realist. I’ve always loved the idea of looking at everything from everybody else’s perspective, and I totally get it, when you’re a studio and you have a hit like that, you want another one. So I said, ‘Go with God and get another director and another screenwriter.’ [A sequel] wasn’t our intention and this wasn’t the studio’s intention, but I understand why.”
But Krasinski credits Paramount and the film’s producers for asking for his input anyway:
“The thing you have to give [Paramount] a lot of credit for is they wanted to talk to me a lot about what would be your idea? Like, ‘We’ll go out to all these other people, but what’s the idea? How do we maintain the respect and how do we maintain the level of quality for the audience?’ They were very well aware that they didn’t just make a successful movie; they made a movie that this audience made successful. That these people who came loved it for a certain reason, so just to like pump out a second one was probably a bad decision, and that’s why I said I didn’t want to do it.”
In offering up the seeds of the idea for a sequel, Krasinski was unknowingly laying the track for him to eventually write the whole A Quiet Place 2 script:
“So I had this little idea that I thought of and my producer, again, was very smart and said, ‘Will you just write it down so I can give it to these filmmakers who are coming in to pitch?’ and I said, ‘Yeah’. And then after like three weeks he was like, ‘Why don’t you just write this and then we’ll get another filmmaker?’ and of course Jedi mind tricked me into signing on to the sequel.”
So will the sequel simply be a retread of the first film, following the same family trying to survive once again on an Earth ravaged by violent aliens drawn to sound? Not exactly:
“Why I had this little idea that’s now gotten bigger is most sequels are about a villain returning or a hero returning, and you have to build this entire world around just the idea that I have a hero or a villain. That’s a lot, and I think that’s where a lot of sequels go wrong because as much as you love that hero or villain, the entire thing is fabricated just to make that person work. [With A Quiet Place 2], we have the world. So it’s actually the world that’s built, it’s the idea that the rest of the world is going through this exact same experience. Are there other people that have to survive like this? It’s that idea of living through the set of circumstances, not again in the same way obviously, but exploring it more. You only got to do it intimately for a small amount of time, so what happens next?”
Indeed, the first film alluded to the fact that there are other survivors out there, so the question then becomes whether A Quiet Place 2 still follows Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe’s characters or if it follows new characters entirely. Krasinski didn’t exactly say, but he did say Blunt has the perfect description for how this A Quiet Place sequel differs from most sequels.
“That’s why I got really excited, because for me certainly the most fun I’ve ever had in my career as a writer was writing this, because I got to play in the most exciting world. It was actually Emily, of course, who articulated it better than me. She said the same thing, it was like, ‘No way, don’t do a second one,’ and then I pitched her my idea and she was like, ‘So you’re definitely doing that.’ She said, ‘But it’s not a sequel. It’s the second book in a series,’ she said, ‘It sounds [like] semantics but it’s true, it really is—you’re not doing anything that’s like, alright I’m gonna take all the things you love and just kinda repeat them but in a different way.’ It’s not A Quieter Place, it’s sort of an exploration of getting to live in the circumstances, and that’s really fun.”
Again, that kind of sounds like we may be following new characters entirely in the follow-up, or maybe Blunt, Simmonds, and Jupe have mere cameos. Or perhaps it does once again revolve around the same family, just in a different location with different circumstances.
Regardless, we’ll find out soon enough when A Quiet Place 2 hits theaters on May 15, 2020. Listen to the full, fantastic interview with Krasinski below.