John Krasinski on Jack Ryan, ‘A Quiet Place’ and, yes, Mary Poppins | Inquirer Entertainment
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John Krasinski on Jack Ryan, ‘A Quiet Place’ and, yes, Mary Poppins

By: - Columnist
/ 12:13 AM November 25, 2018
John Krasinski stars as a CIA analyst in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” —AMAZON STUDIOS

John Krasinski stars as a CIA analyst in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” —AMAZON STUDIOS

LOS ANGELES—“Are we talking about Mary Poppins?” John Krasinski joked after being asked about movie incarnations of popular characters. Of course, John is married to Emily Blunt, who will bring back Mary Poppins to the big screen this December.

John brings a web TV series incarnation of a popular CIA analyst character in Amazon Studios’ “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan.” Creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, along with producers who include Michael Bay and John himself, are behind this spinoff based on characters from Clancy’s novels and centers on his most famous fictional character.

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Wendell Pierce (left) and Krasinski

Wendell Pierce (left) and Krasinski

John joins the list of actors who played Jack Ryan: Harrison Ford, Chris Pine, Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin. Others in the cast of the action-political thriller are Abbie Cornish, Wendell Pierce, John Hoogenakker, Ali Suliman and Dina Shihabi.

The former star of “The Office” sitcom (he played Jim Halpert) also talked about the sequel to his very successful directing debut, “A Quiet Place,” which also starred him and Emily.

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John and Emily, who got married in the Como, Italy villa of their good friend George Clooney, have two daughters, Hazel and Violet.

Excerpts from our chat:

Emily is singing again in “Mary Poppins Returns.” Do you and Emily sing at home? I will tell you my favorite story about singing because not only do I not sing, but I was under the impression that Emily didn’t sing. She didn’t sing one note ever for me, then she did “Into the Woods” with Rob Marshall. I walked into an amazing recording space—a church, and it was beautiful. Rob was standing there by this giant plate glass window and a 125-piece orchestra. Rob was like, “Have a seat!” I sat down, and next to me was Stephen Sondheim!

John Krasinski —RUBEN V. NEPALES

John Krasinski —RUBEN V. NEPALES

And now, I was completely uncomfortable, borderline having an anxiety attack, and Rob said, “Isn’t this so exciting? She is the best singer, right?” And I said, “I don’t know, what are you talking about? She has never sung for me before.” He cued the band while staring at me.

The orchestra started to play, and Emily’s voice started coming in over the speakers. I literally cried so hard … It was like finding out your wife could levitate (laughs). I was like, wait a minute, no one told me! It was the most insane.

Then, she finished and Stephen Sondheim just went, “Ahh, amazing!” I was like, “This is not OK (laughs)! Your wife has to tell people these things!”

How did you meet and woo Emily? I can go on record as saying I married up. A friend of mine was having dinner with her. I went over to see my friend and I met her. Definitely, there was the moment of shaking her hand and realizing, oh my God, this is it—I’m going to embarrass myself because if she doesn’t want to date, we are in trouble.

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So that was the emotional moment, but yeah, we have had plenty of crazy moments. I took her on a helicopter ride over LA in one of our first dates. She was like, “I don’t know LA that well.” I was like, watch this! I remember my friends going, “You’re going way too big way too early, man. This is going to freak her out.” I was like, “Nah.” So I’m glad the helicopter ride didn’t freak her out.

After the movie series, Jack Ryan’s adventures continue in the show. Does the television series format allow the character more room to grow? In my opinion, that is what’s allowing the elasticity. It’s the reason why I signed on for the role. Jack Ryan is someone that I always looked up to as a kid. He isn’t Batman, Iron Man or one of these people who has a cape and flies around. He’s actually a real person.

So, as I kid, I thought if I was lucky, maybe I could be someone who uses his brain and instincts for a superpower. The reason why I signed on is because it’s never been done like this. And to find the nuance, the backstory and to have these, no pun intended, quiet moments with your character. Instead of two hours, where you have to jam down the action and get to the end of a story.

To have eight episodes as a long form felt more like the book and more true to what Clancy was doing.

What awaits viewers in Season Two? We’re just about to finish shooting Season Two now. It’s taking place in South America. We’re delving into what is going on now in Venezuela—the political upheaval that is going on down there right now.

Would you make a good spy in real life? I think I would. Actually now, I won’t because I just told you I would. The first line of business is to not tell people you are a spy.

Can you give an update on the sequel to “A Quiet Place”? Will it be titled “A Quieter Place”? I’m open for title suggestions (laughs). It was one of those things where I was so proud of the film, and it was such a personal experience. I had my wife there every step of the way. I know it won’t get any better in my career. But of course, my wife is a sage. She said, “Of course, it won’t be always like this, so just put it on the mantle and leave there as something we can all look at and go do something else.”

I thought, wow, brilliant advice. So I was never going to be part of “A Quiet Place 2.” Then, we met filmmakers and writers. The producer asked if I had any ideas and I said, “The only thing that I was really interested in is expanding this world.”

Usually, sequels mark the return of a villain or hero. In this movie, it’s about how the rest of the world was surviving under certain circumstances. So that was the idea that I started tinkering with.

Then, about three months later, the producer said, “Is there any chance that you would write it?” I said, “Yeah, now I will.” So I’m writing the script now.

Is it the best year to be John Krasinski with this show and the film? And how does it feel to be a successful first-time director? Without a doubt, yeah. The show has been amazing. I’m just an actor on the show. The way the creative direction is going on the show has always been somebody else’s.

So, when I get to do the things on my own like “A Quiet Place,” it’s the most personal thing I have ever done in my life. There was something about that movie. There was something inside me that I didn’t know was missing. It was a story that I needed to tell.

I have to give a lot of credit to my wife because I was going to rewrite the script and star in it. When I pitched her my whole idea for a rewrite, she said, “You are not going to do that.” I said, “Really?” She said, “You’re going to direct it.” I said “Why?” And she said, “I have never seen you lit up like this and you have to do this.”

And she was right. There was so much more I realized … that this was a love letter to my kids. And something as an artist that I always wanted to do, and this is the type of steadfast story that I wanted to tell. This was certainly the metaphor for parenthood, family and for these unstable times. Relying on other people for help—it’s exactly what I wanted to talk about.

E-mail rvnepales_5585@yahoo.com. Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben.

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