We chatted to John Krasinski about his family life, who he looks up to and his role in the upcoming film, Jack Ryan
Having come to fame as Jim on the US remake of The Office, John Krasinski has seen his profile soar since he directed his wife Emily Blunt in this year’s box office smash A Quiet Place. A father to two young daughters, the 38-year-old spoke to Reader’s Digest at this year’s Monte-Carlo Television Festival about juggling dad duties with his career and his starring role as CIA analyst turned action hero in Amazon’s Jack Ryan reboot.
RD: What do you feel makes Jack Ryan a hero for our time?
John: He’s a character who’s able to achieve so much by tools that we all have and that’s something that's very inspiring in the world of superheroes and capes and flying and shooting things out of your hands. It's nice to focus on real people and real heroes. When you go to the CIA you're first awestruck by the power of it but then you meet the people and, in my opinion, they're among the most inspiring people I've ever met.
RD: Who are you everyday heroes?
John: Without a doubt my hero is my dad. Both my parents for sure, but as far as a male person to look up to it's definitely my father. I've always said if I leave this earth having accomplished a quarter of what he has and having been a quarter as good a person as he is then I'll have done something right.
RD: Do you have a moral compass when it comes to choosing roles?
John: I definitely feel like there's stuff I'd be uncomfortable with but I haven't really reached that anywhere in any of the films or TV I've done so far. As far as family goes there's scheduling stuff but other than that I haven't been asked to do anything I wasn't comfortable with. That seems like an invitation to some terrible things, but I hope I'm an actor who's willing to do whatever it takes to make the part go as far as it can.
RD: As we see in the shirtless scenes in Jack Ryan, you’ve really gotten into shape…
John: Selfishly there's something about getting in shape that makes you feel better. It's been a whole regime change for me but it's also great being a dad. It’s nice not to throw your back out every time you pick up your kids!
RD: There’s talk of a sequel to A Quiet Time. Can you tell us anything about that yet?
John: We're thinking up ideas of what to do with that. If we can make it work then I'd love to be a part of it. As for the success of the first one, I was unprepared for it. I was obviously lucky to be part of some things before that were successes like The Office but that was a different thing because I was responsible for the whole thing—rewriting the script, directing it, producing in it, starring in it with my wife. It felt very personal and it's an experience that can't be matched because most importantly it was with her.
RD: How was it working with Emily?
John: I always wanted her to be in the movie but I never asked because I was probably fearful of her saying no but I was even more fearful of her saying, “Yes, I'll do it for you”. She knew it was a big opportunity for me and a big career change and she's nice enough and loves me enough to want to help me out, but I didn't want to put her in that position. I didn't want her to be going, “I did that one for my husband” but when she read the script she went, “I have to play this role”.
RD: How did you approach the collaboration?
John: I said we needed to treat the project like we treat our marriage, like “Is there anything in the script you want to change or talk about?” We went through it page by page so by the time we got to set we were partners in it. We were warned it might end our marriage and all those crazy things but it is without a doubt the best collaboration I've ever had. She's as good as it gets.
RD: What’s the biggest compliment you could pay Emily in terms of her being a role model for women?
John: I could pay her a billion compliments. The truth is I've not met anyone in this business, man or woman, who’s as dedicated to such a level of taste and confidence in what she chooses to do. Plus there's her unbelievable level of ability. She's one of the most talented people I've ever been around.
She's an incredibly inspiring person because she doesn't think about parts in terms of them being the woman's role or the man's, she just thinks about the role. She also inspires me because she's confident about wanting to learn more and not saying she knows everything, whether it's charity work or acting. She's always open to trying new things. She's the most talented, classiest person I've ever worked with.
RD: How are you finding fatherhood?
John: It's tough, I'm not gonna lie. Doing Jack Ryan was really difficult because Emily was shooting Mary Poppins almost at the exact same time. I got to be with the family in the beginning when she was shooting Mary Poppins then when we started shooting Jack Ryan I flew back and forth pretty much every weekend, which was rough.
RD: What are your pleasures in life?
John: Kids, kids, kids! My kids are the greatest teachers and equalisers for me. Watching them develop as people is just wonderful. The beauty for me is spending time with them and feeling like the least important person in the room. Recently we were in Hawaii and I took them to tide pools and showed them hermit crabs for the first time and they lost their minds, they were so amazed. I felt like, “Oh my God, I've totally turned into my dad!” because I remember when my dad did that with me. My mum is also the most fun, incredibly strong woman. I feel like I was so lucky to be raised by people who gave me that sort of childhood that I try to do the same with my kids.
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan is streaming on Amazon Prime from August 31