The horror film A Quiet Place is unique within the genre in that the film is virtually silent, dialogue-wise thanks to the threat of creatures who hunt by sound terrorizing the film's characters. But the film is also unique in that one of its young stars is deaf, something that the actress says is important for the deaf community.
Millicent Simmonds plays Regan Abbott, the daughter of Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) who just so happens to be deaf. Simmonds, who is deaf in real life, recently told NowThis that the film is significant for the deaf community
"I think it's important in the deaf community to advocate for and be a representative for this story," Simmonds said. "A story that might inspire directors and other screenwriters to include more deaf talent and be more creative in the way you use deaf talent. I think that could be a wonderful thing to see. Not only deaf actors, but other disabled actors as well."
In A Quiet Place, the Abbott family is trying to survive in a world where alien creatures who hunt by sound have completely upended civilization and life as we know it. The family have had to adapt to living in a world of complete silence. The film's co-screenwriter Scott Beck told The Hollywood Reporter that having a deaf character was always part of the script, but that Krasinski -- who directed the film in addition to starring in it -- pushed for Simmonds' casting as Reagan. It's a move that Simmonds hopes will inspire not just filmmakers, but the deaf community as well.
"What I hope is that I can show [my community] you can do anything," Simmonds said. "Not only become an actor, but a writer, a teacher, a pilot, anything you want to do is possible. Just work hard and people will recognize that. They will recognize your efforts."
For Simmonds, those efforts included helping the rest of the film's cast learn American Sign Language (ASL).
"It was kind of a strange experience," she said. "Everyone wanted to learn sign language on set and it was so easy to communicate with them. We had a sign language interpreter, and a deaf advisor on set."
The realism -- both of casting a deaf actor and using genuine ASL in the film -- has certainly paid off. A Quiet Place owned the box office in its debut weekend and while Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Rampage knocked it out of the top spot this weekend, the film continues to perform solidly so much so that audiences are already hoping for a sequel.
A Quiet Place is in theaters now.
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