John Krasinski's scary hit movie has a heartwarming backstory about inclusion.

"A Quiet Place" features a deaf actress in a central role and it's a huge hit.

The horror thriller made over $50 million during its opening weekend, which is especially impressive for a movie that's not part of a franchise or a comic book. First-time director John Krasinski (aka Jim Halpert from NBC's "The Office") has received critical acclaim, particularly for insisting on casting Millicent Simmonds, a 14-year-old deaf actress, to play his character's daughter.

"After we landed on the concept, we had to define how people interacted in that world. How do you survive without sound?" co-writer Bryan Woods said. "The most important part of the film outside of its concept is the family and its issues. In our minds, the issues pre-date the monster event."


Simmonds' role gave the film more depth but also brought greater empathy for the deaf community.

Woods and co-writer Scott Beck said that Simmonds casting changed the on-set dynamic, helping highlight the experiences and challenges a person who is deaf can have outside the larger than life confines of their script.

"We always had a deaf character in the script, but John really pushed for them to hire Millicent," Beck said. "She came to set and taught everyone sign language. It was really amazing and brought an extra depth to the film."

The casting is also an important lesson about inclusion that Hollywood can learn from.

Even in 2018, building bridges of inclusion is a struggle in Hollywood. It would have been easy for Krasinski to cast an actress who wasn't deaf. But in pushing for authenticity, he gave a perfect opportunity to an actress like Simmonds while also opening up his cast to an experience that brought greater depth to their own roles.

Other films have faced backlash for being less inclusive. The forthcoming film "Anything" was criticized for casting a cisgender man in the role of a transgender woman — even though the film's producer is transgender. While those behind the film acknowledged the criticism, it's just another example that Hollywood has a long way to go in pursuing diversity across all facets of production.

It's not about saying "no" to anyone. It's about saying "yes" to a broader spectrum of voices and talents.

Audiences are supporting more diverse films with their hearts and their wallets.

Krasinski did the right thing and should be commended for that. And his screenwriters say it was smart creatively as well. Plus, over $50 million at the box-office is hard to argue with.

If the last few years have shown us anything it's that audiences are hungry for more inclusive forms of storytelling.

After all, "Black Panther" just passed "Titanic" on the all-time box office charts. With his own film, Krasinski showed us how to be more inclusive and he can take all of that goodwill straight to the bank.

Most Shared
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food