Though he’ll probably always be most fondly remembered for his role as Jim Halpert on The Office, John Krasinski has recently proven that he’s as comfortable behind the camera as he is shrugging into it. His latest film, A Quiet Place, has been a surprise smash hit, and earned Krasinski some well-deserved credibility as a horror director. We sat down with the actor turned auteur to discuss his career, family, and of course, The Office.
What was it like directing your wife, Emily Blunt, in A Quiet Place?
It was a funny coincidence because neither of us knew the other was going to be involved in the movie. When I saw the call sheet I thought, “Oh, that’s funny. This actress has the same name as my wife.” She saw my name on the script and thought the same thing. It had just never come up.
You and Emily must be one of the busiest couples in all of Hollywood. You both have quite a big slate of upcoming projects right now. How does that work out?
Emily has been so incredibly supportive to me throughout my entire career. Every night, she kicks me out of our bed so I can go write more screenplays. She changed the locks on the door to our house so I would go out and do pitches, and she smashed my car with a monster truck so I would do less driving and sell more movie specs. Even when we were on set, between takes, she was right there with me, running her finger across her neck and pointing at me, mouthing “Kill you,” to keep me in the mind-set of using sign language for my movie. She’s my rock, and I’m lucky to have someone as devoted to me as I am to them.
The Office has a fanatical following. Have you had any strange encounters with the show’s fans?
Once a woman approached me and asked if I was Jim from The Office, and I said, “Yeah,” and she looked really disappointed and walked away. Later I discovered she was put off by the fact that I had a tattoo of her son that says “Little Diarrhea Boy” around it.
Do you have a favorite memory from when you worked on The Office?
A lot of the cast members have a favorite episode, but for me, the best memory is this period between seasons four and five when I realized the phones on set were not props. As a kind of goof, I started with a few cold calls, but eventually I’d built up a pretty nice client base to the point where after a couple of years I was actually making far more money selling paper than I was for acting in the show. All the paper sold on The Office were real sales being made, and honestly, I’d be homeless right now without the commissions I got from those.
You went to high school with your Office co-star, B.J. Novak. What was it like to work with him years later on the show that would be both of your big breaks?
It was wild because in high school, we were so competitive. We were always going toe to toe for who could make the loudest, most fucked-up sound by cracking their back with their desk chair. In the middle of every class, we’d be gripping the backs of our chairs and ripping our torsos in a complete 180, cracking our spines so loud that it sounded like a set of firecrackers going off under our shirts, just nonstop for 40 minutes at a time. And this would go on and on until the day B.J. cracked his back so bad it severed his spinal column in half. His bowels evacuated, and he just fell to the floor like a sack of dead fish. Everyone clapped, and from that day on, he was the king of the class. Yeah, he definitely won that one. Even though he was pretty much a vegetable for the rest of high school, he still managed to get laid more than me, too. Shit, he even convinced me to hook up with him a few times by blinking at me in Morse code from his motorized wheelchair—that’s how competitive he was. However, by the time we got to The Office, the only competition between us was to see who could make the other break character during a shoot.