John Krasinski and wife Emily Blunt made their first red carpet appearance together since the birth of their second child Violet in June, at the premiere of John’s new film, The Hollars, Thursday evening in Manhattan.
The script by Jim Strouse is a dramedy about a dysfunctional family who bicker but try to support each other when the matriarch (Margo Martindale) is diagnosed with a brain tumor. Krasinski and Sharlto Copley play siblings and Richard Jenkins plays their mild-mannered and needy father.
In The Hollars, the laughs come as often as the heartbreak, so be prepared and bring plenty of Kleenex. Anna Kendrick, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Josh Groban and Randall Park are also in the cast.
On the red carpet, I told the District 9 star, Sharlto Copley that The Hollars is not the typical film we’re used to seeing him in. That was the point, he said.
“I didn’t have to kill anyone, and my mother could watch it,” said Copley. The South African actor plays a good-hearted n’er-do-well who manages to screw everything up. “I like characters that have heart. I really struggle to find characters that have that, and I like the idea of playing a flawed character.”
The terrific Margo Martindale told me she took the film because she loved the story. “I love the honesty and simplicity of this story, the surprises and the twists that are like life. I love that.”
In his introductory remarks before the screening, Sony Pictures Classics co-founder Michael Barker said, “Every frame, every moment in this movie reflects the personality and humanity of John Krasinski.”
Following are highlights from Krasinski’s red carpet interview with the press:
As a father of two young children, could you relate to your character and his fear of fatherhood?
This character is a lot more scared than I was. I’m lucky enough to come from an amazing family and have a father that was my hero my whole life, so I’ve always wanted to be a dad. I wasn’t scared to be a dad… What I connected to is the mirror that’s held up when you have a baby. It changes your whole life. I understood that better. But really, what I felt I added to this movie was this huge existential magnet that you have being pulled closer to your parents. You understand your parents better. I understand my brothers better.
You and your wife Emily recently moved to New York from L.A. What has that been like?
We absolutely love it. I’m from the East Coast. I think I always knew that I’d come back to the East Coast at some point. Emily’s from London, obviously, so we’re closer to her family, and again, I think this movie had a lot to do with that. I think that we realized even more so that we needed to be close to family, and it’s been amazing. I absolutely love New York.
What did you learn about yourself making this movie?
I learned a whole lot as an actor watching these two. When you watch Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins, especially … I think that the younger actors were watching the more experienced actors and saying, there’s no way we’re going to be able to do that.
What was it like to direct yourself?
You know what was funny, this one was actually not only easier to direct, but it was almost necessary for me to act and direct because it’s a very intimate movie. I think the truth is, we can all say we’ve seen a lot of family movies and a lot of them don’t really do it for you. I don’t love a lot of them because they feel manipulative. This one feels so real, and the key to that for me was making sure that the family felt real and organic. So for me, getting to be in the scene as an actor, I hardly called cut. We’d just do takes over and over and just talk to each other, so we were sort of in this safe little bubble a lot. It was almost as if we were doing a play.
Next up for you is Jack Ryan, which is a completely different enterprise for you, an action thriller that will run on Amazon in ten episodes. What inspired you to take that gig?
I got asked to do that one, luckily. I think 13 Hours was a huge transformational moment for me, both physically and also in my career. And this amazing woman, Amy Powell, who runs TV at Paramount, saw an early screening of 13 Hours and said, I think that’s our Jack Ryan. So she came to me, and the guy who’s running Jack Ryan is Carlton Cuse, he’s a genius, and he just pitched to me that this 10 episode format, this longer storytelling’s actually going to be better for Jack Ryan, seeing that they’re very articulate, long, drawn out books.
Have you been working out a lot for the character?
Yes! What do you mean? I don’t look like it? C’mon! How dare you? I’m not as big as I was in 13 Hours, obviously, because that would be insane. I’d just scare my children. But instead, I’ve stayed working out since that movie, because I remember Chris Pratt saying, once he got there, he never wanted to go back, and I totally understand what he means. Why would you give it all up after you did that? But it also helps a lot to pick up two kids at a time. You don’t throw your back out when you’ve been working out.