A Quiet Place's digital HD and Blu-ray releases come equipped with tons of extra content and special features that allow viewers to dive deeper into the post-apocalyptic world. The film took the world by storm when it released earlier this year, grossing over $331 million at the worldwide box office against an estimated production budget of only $17 million. While that's not an unprecedented accomplishment, it's something that doesn't happen often, especially for genre films.
The Office and 13 Hours actor John Krasinski not only starred in the film as the father, Lee, but also co-wrote and directed the project, along with Andrew Form and Brad Fuller producing the film under their Platinum Dunes production company alongside Michael Bay. Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe co-starred as the rest of the family. What's interesting is that it was a project unlike anything the people involved had ever done, and that certainly helped in defining its originality.
Of course, there's more to A Quiet Place than meets the eye, and the creative team behind the project had the chance to discuss and explain the characters, the story, and the world they created on the film's home video release. Here's everything we learned from the movie's special features:
- Andrew Form says that A Quiet Place's script was only 67 pages, which is roughly the same length of a TV pilot. Most movie scripts are between 90 and 120 pages, with each page equating to about one minute. There's maybe two to three minutes of actual dialogue in the movie. John Krasinski also says that the original spec script was more horror than the final draft.
- Screenwriters Bryan Woods and Scott Beck originally came up with the nascent idea for A Quiet Place while they were in college, after deciding that they wanted to make something in the horror space.
- Andrew Form and Brad Fuller are also producers on Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan TV series, in which John Krasinski plays the eponymous character. Krasinski was offered the role of the dad in A Quiet Place after the producers got to know him for the Amazon show.
- Krasinski says he was initially scared to play the dad since he wasn't comfortable tackling a genre film. But then he ended up channeling his own fears of protecting his real-life daughter into the movie, which helped him come to terms with the role and the story.
- Krasinski accepted the role of the dad after reading the script, but then also decided that he wanted to write and direct the movie. It was his idea to helm the project, not the producers, but they were definitely on board with it. Form says he knew Krasinski was the filmmaker for this movie after talking with him about it for only one minute.
- The production team worked hard to create a setting that looked like a farm in Iowa. Krasinski initially found the location, but all it had was the red barn and the white house; they created everything else. For instance, they built the 70-foot corn silo and planted the vegetable garden. They also planted the corn fields before they even started pre-production so the corn could grow to eight feet by the time they started filming.
- Krasinski and the production designer Jeffrey Beecroft approached the film's production design like a Western movie: showing more, telling less.
- Krasinski wanted Emily Blunt to be in the movie, but he didn't want her to feel obligated to help him out. So, in the end, she read the script and decided she wanted to be part of the film.
- A Quiet Place's cast was completely authentic; it has a real-life husband and wife playing a husband and wife, with a real-life deaf girl playing a deaf girl. What's more, there were no auditions or screen tests for the movie. Krasinski was asked to play the dad and Blunt chose to play the mom. For the children, Krasinski chose Millicent Simmonds to play Reagan and Noah Jupe to play Marcus. Krasinski actually spoke to George Clooney about Jupe, since the two worked together on Suburbicon.
- Blunt's scream in the bathtub was done in one take. It completely stunned the cast and crew, including Krasinski.
- Krasinski and the creative team were adamant about the crew being the quietest they had ever been on a set. They wanted authenticity, not to dub out the extra sound. Because of that, they didn't use any background sounds for most of the film. Every movie has some sort of background sound - from ambiance to wind to crickets - but A Quiet Place didn't have it for two or three major sequences.
- Sound designers and editors Brandon Jones, Ethan Vaderryn, and Erik Aadahl say that it's just as hard to make a quiet film as a blockbuster extravaganza, if not harder. Vaderryn says they thought, "how many different shades of quiet can we have?"
- They spent time figuring out what noise the alien would make, especially since it hates noise. They looked at Jaws - Bruce the shark didn't make any noise - but they also didn't want to rely too much on music. This is something they spent years arguing about, according to Form.
- The initial alien sound was too loud and uncomfortable - it sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard to Form - so they toned it down quite a bit.
- ILM and the visual effects team were told to hold as much back as possible, to let the audience's imagination take over. After all, the family in the movie didn't have much to work with; they didn't really know what they were dealing with.
- Original Cloverfield writer Drew Goddard some advice to Krasinski on designing the film's creatures. He said: "Start your creature now. Long before pre-production, start thinking about him now." Krasinkski spent a long time trying to figure out the creatures' design. He wrote stuff, drew stuff, and even videotaped himself crawling on the floor to figure it all out. He ended up stealing ideas from prehistoric fish and various other animals that look like they wouldn't belong on Earth.
- One design inspiration for the alien came from a nautilus shell. The team started considering bird shapes, but that didn't work out since the original design for the creatures were very large. From the beginning, though, Krasinski was adamant about the creatures having flaps over their heads, and how their ears are curved so they could pick up soft sounds. It really all started with the ears, and then they worked their way out from there.
- The initial idea for the film was to not show the monster much at all, but then the filmmakers liked the way the aliens started to look that they ended up adding much more of the creatures towards the end.
If it wasn't clear by watching the film, it's surely apparent that everyone involved in bringing A Quiet Place to life on the big screen poured their hearts into the project. The cast and crew went to great lengths to make sure that they not only delivered a unique theater-going and movie-watching experience but also that audiences felt that the family wasn't expendable. Sure, it's a post-apocalyptic movie with aliens in it, but it's really all about the family, and everything they have done to survive.
Considering the film's astounding critical and commercial success, it's no wonder that Paramount Pictures is already pursuing A Quiet Place 2. While the entire creative team is expected to return - from the writers to the producers, including John Krasinski - the sequel will most likely focus on another family. The first movie's titular family transformed their lives to survive, but how did all those other survivors manage to avoid making sounds - and for so long? Those are questions that Krasinski and the creative team want to answer in the sequel.
A Quiet Place is now out on digital HD and Blu-ray.