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John Krasinski recounts the scariest scene in 'Quiet Place II' for Emily Blunt: 'Did I just put my marriage on the line?'

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If Emily Blunt had her way, "A Quiet Place Part II" would be rated PG-40.

The actress re-teams with husband John Krasinski for the stress-inducing follow-up to 2018's surprise horror hit (in theaters now). Although it's PG-13, the couple's daughters – Hazel, 7, and Violet, 4 – will have to wait much longer to watch.

"I'm trying to bring it in a little bit, like maybe 27, but right now it's still holding at 40," Krasinski jokes. "It's funny, because clearly if we showed them, they would probably just go in the fetal position for years.

"But 'A Quiet Place' has become this adorable thing because Mommy and Daddy did it together," he adds, laughing. "So they love talking about 'A Quiet Place,' not knowing at all what they are in for when they finally do see it."

Regan (Millicent Simmonds, left), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) try to stay silent and evade monsters in horror sequel "A Quiet Place Part II."
Regan (Millicent Simmonds, left), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) try to stay silent and evade monsters in horror sequel "A Quiet Place Part II."

Review: 'A Quiet Place Part II' roars back as a solidly freaky, monster-filled followup

The sequel idea convinced John Krasinski to return

Audiences, meanwhile, should expect bigger action and more monsters in the sequel, which doubles down on the emotional storytelling that made the first film a critical (96% positive reviews on aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes) and commercial success ($340 million worldwide on a $17 million budget). Blunt, 38, won a Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actress playing Evelyn, a fiercely protective mom navigating an alien apocalypse with her husband, Lee (Krasinski), and two kids, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and Marcus (Noah Jupe).

The new film picks up minutes after the events of the first movie, when Lee was killed by one of the noise-sensitive, crablike creatures that have invaded Earth. Having now figured out a way to kill the giant monsters using shotguns and high-frequency sounds, Evelyn and her children venture out in search of other survivors, all while caring for a newborn baby and trying to process their grief.

Krasinski, 41, co-wrote and directed the first "Quiet Place," but was reluctant to do a second, wanting to leave well enough alone. Producer Andrew Form started interviewing other writers and directors, but eventually managed to pull "The Office" actor back in.

"Andrew said, 'Will you do me a favor? Do you have any ideas we can talk to these people about?'" Krasinski says. "I said, 'Yeah, there's one idea I can't get out of my head: We make Millie the lead of the movie.'"

Regan (Millicent Simmonds) takes center stage in "A Quiet Place Part II."
Regan (Millicent Simmonds) takes center stage in "A Quiet Place Part II."

That was enough to get the wheels turning for Krasinski, who has sole screenplay credit on the sequel. Exploring themes of parenthood, loss, hope and growing up, the film shifts its focus to Regan (who, like Simmonds, 18, is deaf) and her efforts to protect her family. She sets out on a solo mission but soon teams up with fellow survivor Emmett (Cillian Murphy), who becomes a sort of father figure to the girl.

The first movie "was about that promise you make to your kids: that you'll always be there for them no matter what," Krasinski says. "Most parents know that promise has to inevitably be broken one day, so the second movie is about ... when kids realize their parents aren't going to be there and they have to take their own first steps into the world."

The intense opening could've gone 'very badly' for Emily Blunt

Once Krasinski was on board as director, it didn't take much to convince Blunt to say yes, too.

"Emily always says the British thing, that you don't want to over-pitch like, 'Oh, my gosh, I have the best idea!' That makes her close off a bit," Krasinski says. Instead, he simply asked her to read the sequel's nail-biting opening scene, a flashback to the day the aliens arrived. Once she did, she said matter-of-factly, "'So I'm gonna do the movie. Where does it go from here? Hurry up, keep writing.'"

Because the opening tracks Day 1 of the apocalypse, Krasinski's Lee appears throughout the action-packed sequence, as monsters overturn vehicles, crash into storefronts and claim their first victims. At one point, Evelyn is forced to drive a car in reverse down a crowded, chaotic street when a city bus comes barreling toward her. The stunt team rehearsed the terrifying moment for three weeks before shooting, but Blunt decided to wing it on the day.

"I said, 'Do you want to rehearse this once?' And she said, 'No, I want you to get the real reaction,'" Krasinski recalls. "So that shot is what's in the movie: That was the first time she was ever in that car, and that bus is actually coming at her at 40 miles an hour.

"Right as I closed the door and before I called action, I thought, 'Did I just put my marriage on the line? This could go very badly for a lot of reasons.'"

Hopes are high that it'll help revive the box office

"A Quiet Place Part II" arrives in theaters more than a year after its original March 20, 2020 release date, when the film's release was delayed due to COVID-19. The movie was postponed three more times before Paramount planted it on this Memorial Day weekend.

Producers mulled skipping theaters altogether for an on-demand release.

"Everything was talked about," Form says. But like the first film, the sequel "was made as a theatrical experience." (It will then start streaming on Paramount+ in July.)

With 39% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated and moviegoers showing high excitement about returning to theaters, "Quiet Place 2" could match or even best the $50.2 million opening of its forerunner.

"Audiences are steadily growing more comfortable with going back to theaters," says Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro, who believes "Quiet Place 2" could take in anywhere from $40 to $60 million its first four days.

"It's wise to remember that box-office comparisons still have a giant asterisk next to them ... but there's never been a stronger justification during the pandemic to hope that a big-screen revival is imminent."

Director/writer John Krasinski, left, and star Emily Blunt on the set of "A Quiet Place Part II."
Director/writer John Krasinski, left, and star Emily Blunt on the set of "A Quiet Place Part II."

Krasinski, who recalls feeling "weirdly emotional" getting his second vaccine dose, is currently traveling the country doing surprise screenings and Q&As as a way of thanking fans for returning to theaters. Whatever the box-office outcome, the long-awaited release already feels like a victory in itself for the sequel, which premiered in New York last March, days before the COVID-19 lockdown. Over a year later, reviews are finally released, with a 92% positive on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The whole situation is totally bizarre: having your premiere, which is usually the metaphorical champagne bottle on the ship right as it goes to sea, and then having them bring it right back," Krasinski says. "But there's never been a movie in our career, Emily or I, that we've been more excited for people to see. And the fact that people are liking it is incredible."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Quiet Place II': John Krasinski reveals scene that sold Emily Blunt