A horror film with almost no spoken dialogue doesn’t exactly scream ‘box office gold’ on paper, and yet John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place has so far taken in over $326 million dollars worldwide, making it easily one of the most profitable horror movies of recent years. It also ranks among the highest grossing features ever released by Platinum Dunes, a studio known for rebooting classic franchises like Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as working with Blumhouse Productions to bring us the ongoing Purge series.
The film stars Krasinski and Emily Blunt as a couple struggling to raise their family in a post-apocalyptic world where the invasion of sound-sensitive creatures has forced humans to live their lives in near silence. For producer and Platinum Dunes co-founder Andrew Form, it was a project with an intriguingly unusual premise that raised questions about just how this story could be told in film form.
With the movie hitting Blu-Ray and DVD on July 10th, we took the opportunity to speak to Form about this gripping, often poignant work and its planned sequel. See what he had to say below and enjoy!
I’ve read that not a lot of people had faith in this project in its early stages. What made you guys want to get involved?
Andrew Form: I’ll tell you what I know. We got the spec script in August of ’17 and we were the only company that did receive the screenplay. Our agency WME represented the writers and they slipped us this script because we live in the genre space and they thought this could be something cool for us. So I know the script did not go out to the town. Brad Fuller and I read it, and we thought it was an instant movie. It was kind of how we felt, in a different way, but it was like when we read the first Purge script. This is so fresh and original, and we thought A Quiet Place could be something special out in the marketplace. So Paramount agreed with us and bought it immediately, took it right off the market.
So then you close your deals with the studio and we were kind in a soft prep phase of Jack Ryan, our television series, and we reached out to John [Krasinski] because we were working with him closely on that and said, “Brad and I are thinking, maybe on hiatus of Jack Ryan, you could star in A Quiet Place and play the dad. That would be pretty cool.” We gave it to him and, I know it’s in the press, but he came back and said, “I’ll definitely star in it but I wanna rewrite this screenplay and I wanna direct it and here’s why.” And we went off to do Jack Ryan and he worked on the script and we turned it in and it all happened really fast. I mean it was crazy how fast that process happened. We bought the script in August ’17 and we were filming, I think it’s one year almost to the day, which for us is fast.
And you had faith in this film commercially? You didn’t, for instance, go into it thinking that this would be Platinum Dunes’ arthouse film that critics will like but audiences will ignore?
Andrew Form: No, I never felt that. The hardest thing for us as a production company is finding something original. We’ve filmed a lot of remakes, sequels, prequels, so to have something original in the genre is really really challenging, and for us almost impossible. If we look at our development, it’s so hard to find an original idea that we really believe in. So when we read this, we were like, “Oh wow, a genre film with no dialogue. Okay, that’s awesome.” Most of our films, the last thirty minutes you’re, in the early days, you’re down to one protagonist and they’re alone. So we’re used to no dialogue at the end of these movies because there’s no one to talk to. They’re just running and hiding. So we’re gonna do 90 minutes of this. There’s really no talking.
And this idea, and really the movie, is about this family. And I think what was important about the film is it was a drama about this family and really falling in love with these characters, and then the other stuff happened on top of it. I think back when we had started out, it was really like, “What are the scares? Let’s build this out now and build a really scary film.” This one wasn’t like that.
But we always believed in it. We always thought it could be something special. You never know what’s gonna happen with your movie, obviously. We’ve had some work and some don’t work and you believe in the ones and if they don’t work, you don’t know why, and sometimes you’re like, “I don’t know if that’s gonna work,” and it does. But I think from the first time we read this script we were like, “This actually could be something special.” And in the genre, to do something special with sound like this was really exciting to us.
This is a film that very much works by its own logic, all revolving around the idea of a life lived in near silence. Was there a lot of debate and discussion about how exactly this way of living would work on a practical level?
Andrew Form: Yeah, I mean John really… The amazing thing about working with Krasinski on the movie was, you could walk onto the set and that barn, which was an unbelievable set to walk on, and everything was there for a reason. And the idea that John’s character is just trying to survive and Emily [Blunt]’s character is trying to thrive. She’s not giving up. No, she’s gonna home school and they’re moving forward, they’re not just gonna quit, where John is just going through his days and he’s just trying to get through it. There was lots of discussion about that and the difference between the mom and the dad.
And then the opening of the film where John is up on the silo, when he’s looking at the pictures of his son that passed away. And Emily’s in the basement and they’re hoping they can build this safe room and maybe they can sound proof it. Because they know if they can’t, they’re all in trouble. But she’s hanging a mobile. She’s in the future and he’s in the past. There were lots of discussions about stuff like that.
But the first thing John pitched me after we read the script was the sand paths. Like, this is how they walk. They walk barefoot on sand and I remember I said to him, “I hear what you’re saying but is that really quiet?” I’ve never really thought about it. I’ve been to the beach but I never thought, am I quiet right now? He said to me, he was like, “Try it. Just try it. Walk on sand barefoot.” I’m like, “I believe you. I’ll do it but I believe you and I think that’s awesome.”
So from day one, he was really thinking, how would this family have survived two years? And what have they built out? I mean, they had to move out of their home. A lot of people didn’t see this in the film. It happened quickly. But when Emily’s hanging laundry, there is an enormous tree that ripped through their house. And it’s behind her and it’s resting on their house and the roof is gone. And then when she walks upstairs, you can see leaves all over the floor and stuff, and clearly they’re not living in that home anymore. So they had to move into that barn is what happened. Really it was a beautiful set that Jeff Beecroft designed. But that became their new home, living in the barn. They just go into the house for the basement and really the laundry, that’s the only thing. And of course, when Emily goes upstairs to the bedroom to sit in her son’s room, who had passed away.