When the press tries to ‘’Expose the Heretic!’’
For performers in Hollywood, it has long been the case that they strive to avoid being typecast. When it comes to John Krasinski he faced that very real challenge once the beloved comedy series ‘’The Office’’ ended its run after nine seasons. His role as Jim Halpert was a fixture and he faced a real challenge in getting audiences after to accept him as any other character.
This was made even tougher when, even seven years after the series closed, it is by far the most popular streaming option on Netflix. One effort to distinguish Krasinski has seen him having taken on some roles with a strong military foundation. He appeared in the Michael Bay true-life recreation ‘’13 Hours’’, and he is in the titular role of the Amazon series based on the Tom Clancy character ‘’Jack Ryan’’. Along with this, he has branched off successfully into directing, so he has done well to differentiate from his most famous work.
Yet Esquire Magazine, in a recent profile of the actor/director, attempts to typecast Krasinski in an entirely new way — that of a closet conservative. During a lengthy interview, we see the magazine turn from a fawning fan piece at times to more of a ‘’gotcha’’ style of interrogation. The first indication of this is in a discussion of his film ‘’A Quiet Place,’’ the sequel to which will be released next month. In the original, a very innovative horror hit, a family faced an evil force that responded violently to sounds which led to much of the feature transpiring in complete silence.
Krasinski stated in the past this was made as an ode to the dedication of parents to their kids and considered it a love letter to his own children. But despite this obviousness, there are other possibilities afoot. ”Some people didn’t read it as a metaphor for parenthood,’’ says Esquire. It cited a review from The New Yorker that declared the film was ”conspicuously regressive’’, all because it featured a white family protecting its home from an invader. After some passages detailing the aftermath of his ”Office’’ career, we come to his portrayal of a contract soldier in the Benghazi-based drama ”13 Hours’’.
Krasinski mentions how few in Hollywood are willing to take chances, but director Michael Bay saw a breakout opportunity from the Jim Halpert framework. “I certainly was not the first choice for that movie. Michael really was the one who gave me that shot.” This takes Esquire to the conclusion of Krasinski possibly harboring those dastardly conservative leanings. From ”13 Hours’’ he went directly into ”Jack Ryan’’, and it was during that production that he nailed down his film ”A Quiet Pace’’.
This led the magazine to its conclusion. ”As Krasinski starred in big military dramas and directed a film that some read to be an allegory for conservative ideals, a narrative started to develop around his persona.’’ They cite a number of circumstantial examples to help ”prove’’ their case. BuzzFeed had a piece mentioning Krasinski was making a play for ”red-state audiences’’. There was a video where the actor was saying praiseworthy things about the CIA. And then Mel Magazine has a frothing summation of Krasinki’s recent career — ”from boy-next-door to instrument of empire.’’
Dredging up these items places the actor in the position of having to explain himself to the magazine. He states that the work is all character-centered and not based on the selling of an agenda. ”I always say it’s about the people. I’ll always respect people who put their lives on the line for people like me, who they’ve never met.” He explains that in his family there are nearly a dozen members who are either active military or veterans, and it was important for him to honor them in some way in his work.
That he has to even answer to this line of questioning means we could actually read another metaphor into the storyline of ”A Quiet Place’’. The film could be an allegory of the reality that conservatives face in Hollywood or even the cancel-culture predisposition of many on social media. Keep quiet, keep to yourself, or run the risk of drawing the attention of the attacking hordes.
Or, like Krasinski’s character, you can choose to arm yourself and defend against the mindless attack. Maybe that is a conservative viewpoint. That it is one needing to be explained and defended is part of the larger problem in our society.