9 Insane Stories From The Making of ‘A Quiet Place’ That Demand a Rewatch

The Original Script Had Only One Line Of Dialogue

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.

1. The Bathtub Birth Scene Was So Intense That The Crew Couldn’t Look At Emily Blunt After Filming

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.”

2. The Original Script Had Only One Line Of Dialogue

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.

3. John Krasinski Used To Be Scared Of Horror Movies 

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.”

4. John Krasinki Played The Monster In The Film

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.

5. Emily Blunt Demanded That Her Husband Cast Her In The Movie

Emily Blunt Demanded That Her Husband Cast Her In The Movie

Like her husband John Krasinski, Emily Blunt is not a fan of horror movies. A Quiet Place, however, is not like other horror films. Blunt has been around the business long enough to know a winning script when she reads it.

Krasinski initially hired another actress to play Evelyn Abbott in the post-apocalyptic sci-fi horror hybrid, but Blunt pulled the wife card and demanded that her husband cast her in his 2018 movie: “He wrote it, and I had previously suggested a friend of mine for the film, and then I read his script and I was like, ‘You need to fire her. Now. You need to call her and fire her.’”

Krasinksi actually wrote the script with his wife in mind. However, he was scared to ask her because he didn’t want her to accept the role just because she felt obligated.

6. The Original Plan Was To Not Use Subtitles For The Sign Language

The Original Plan Was To Not Use Subtitles For The Sign Language

The monsters in A Quiet Place have excellent hearing, but cannot see. Therefore, the Abbott family has to remain completely silent. 

Lee (John Krasinki) and Evelyn’s (Emily Blunt) daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is deaf in the film, and Simmonds is deaf in real life. The family often communicates through sign language to avoid harm from the film’s alien creatures. 

Krasinki originally planned to not use subtitles for when the family is communicating through sign language. The film’s co-producer Brad Fuller explained:

We never watched the movie with subtitles until a month before we finished… That’s how John built the movie the first time he screened it for me. There were no subtitles on it. You really got used to it, but I think there was a point where we all looked at each other like, “Let’s watch it with the subtitles and see what’s really happening. Once that happened, there was never ever a question ever again. It was going to be subtitles no matter what.

The filmmakers changed their minds because of one scene in particular. Co-producer Andrew Form explained why subtitles became necessary:

Like the Millie and John scene where he tries to get her to put a new hearing aid in. It’s a very emotional scene, but I had no idea… I mean, I knew what they were saying, but as a viewer, I didn’t know what they were saying. When you put in the subtitles that really kind of helped solidify not only that scene but also that relationship.

7. It Was Emily Blunt’s Idea To Shoot The Birthing Scene In Order Over A Single Week

It Was Emily Blunt’s Idea To Shoot The Birthing Scene In Order Over A Single Week

Practically every moment in A Quiet Place is filled with terror and tension. The bathtub birth scene may have been the most terrifying. How does a woman who has just stepped on a nail and must give birth in a bathtub all alone not scream and yell in pain at the top of her lungs?

John Krasinski initially planned to spread out filming the scene to give Emily Blunt a rest. Instead, she took one for the team in the name of making the scene appear as real as possible. Blunt explained:

The giving birth sequence was… just really intense, and kind of exhausting at times. We shot it over the course of a week, and I asked John to schedule it. He was like, “Are you going to be exhausted? Do you want to break it up in the schedule or do you want to shoot it all in one go?” So, I just maybe stupidly said, “Let’s just shoot it all in one go because then you can get a real sense of the progression of the birth and the throughline of that so that really played out in real time.”

8. John Krasinski Wrote ‘A Quiet Place’ As A Love Letter To His Kids

John Krasinski Wrote 'A Quiet Place' As A Love Letter To His Kids

It may sound odd to hear that John Krasinski wrote a terrifying horror movie for his two young daughters. However, during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, the director and host agreed that the movie is about parents protecting their children. 

“It sounds psychotic, but it’s a love letter to my kids. It truly is,” Krasinski said. 

9. The Test Screening Was A Disaster

The Test Screening Was A Disaster

When John Krasinski showed A Quiet Place during a test screening, the CGI was not finished, so the audience had to imagine what the terrifying monster would look like. 

Krasinski initially felt the test screening was going well… until he appeared on screen in his tight motion capture suit as the film’s villainous alien. This should have been the part of the horror movie where the audience gets terrified the most. Instead, the house had the opposite reaction. Krasinksi recalled:

All of a sudden my giant foot with Vans on shows up, and we slowly pan up my very colorful, very tight, revealing suit, and end on me with a beard pretending to roar. The entire place exploded into laughter.

At that moment, Krasinski said he thought the worst: “What have I done! I’ve just made the worst greatest comedy.”