John Krasinski Edited First 'A Quiet Place' Cuts With No Sound

A Quiet Place marked a departure from most horror fare, leaning into the inherent anxiety viewers experience when forced to sit in a theater in relative silence. The film's narrative required it to be an experience that would be just as effective as any film where characters audibly speak to one another, with director John Krasinski revealing that he watched early cuts of the film with the sound cut completely to ensure it would be effective.

"On the first day or two [of post-production], I was going through different sounds with my editor to equalize it out, and I just said, 'Hit mute.' And we hit mute for what might have been five weeks," Krasinski shared with The New York Times. "The first cut and the second cut were all done without one ounce of sound. I needed to be able to connect with these characters without anything else."

In the film, a family living on a farm hides from a supernatural evil attracted to sound by avoiding making sounds and communicating in sign language.

"Even on silent, there was so much communication happening," the director added. "I didn't think our movie would be so commercially accepted because the only other time I've seen someone do a movie with no spoken dialogue is Paul Thomas Anderson at the beginning of There Will Be Blood. That first 12 to 14 minutes where Daniel Day-Lewis doesn't speak was a huge touchstone for me."

Luckily, the filmmaker had realized even before he got into the editing room that the film would be a success, noting the moment he realized the power of the story wasn't limited to the actors' voices.

"I remember we were filming a scene where Emily [Blunt] was doing homeschooling with Noah [Jupe, who plays the son, Marcus], and it was Day Three. And I had written the movie with sign language. So it was that thing of 'Can we pull this off?' But every day that went by was helpful to see it play out, other than theorize that it would be great," Krasinski shared with Business Insider. "But in that scene, two things happened. Emily [Blunt] was obviously amazing, but one of the things is air started coming out of her mouth when she was mouthing the words as she was signing. There was something so beautiful in that. In that moment, I realized you can even communicate with breath, with no voice. That was really beautiful to me."

He added, "Then on top of that was Noah. To watch this kid dealing with these circumstances that are completely imaginary but heavy for a kid to deal with — apocalyptic, losing a family member, a father who has fallen out of love with the whole family — these are big themes, and this kid was able to articulate in that one scene such powerful emotion that it felt so real. I genuinely started tearing up behind the monitor watching this kid act because it was so moving. I remember after that I turned to my producer, and I said, 'Holy sh-t, dude, this might actually work!' And he said, 'Hey, man, it's Day Three! It's a little too late to say this might work.' So from that moment on, I learned to keep my excitement to myself that this magic trick might actually work."

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Krasinski is currently developing a sequel, which is slated to land in theaters on May 15, 2020.

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