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‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Star Millicent Simmonds on Her ‘Life-Changing’ Opportunity to Play the Lead

”I thought, wow, this is incredible that he believes in me and he’s allowing me to take such a huge part in this vision that he has,“ actress says of director John Krasinski

(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you don’t want to know anything about “A Quiet Place Part II.”)

“A Quiet Place Part II” actress Millicent Simmonds said the moment John Krasinski called her to tell her his idea for the plot of the highly-anticipated sequel changed everything for her.

“When John called and pitched his idea about the sequel, he said, ‘This is the idea that I have, just hear me out,’ and he walked me through this and he said, ‘You’re going to be the heroine in this film and the movie is going to be about your character,'” the actress, who is deaf, told TheWrap through her interpreter Amanda Grazian. “And that was such a life-changing moment. I thought, wow, this is incredible that he believes in me and he’s allowing me to take such a huge part in this vision that he has. I couldn’t say no, of course. And then as I began to read the script with more details about his vision, including the new cast members and seeing some of the obstacles they’ll face, it made me so excited because we never knew what was going to happen to the family.”

Indeed, Simmonds, who just graduated high school, is front and center of the sequel, which finds Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and her two kids Regan (Simmonds) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) again facing the creatures. With the family slowly losing hope even as they encounter familiar faces, Regan comes up with a plan that could be life-saving.

Simmonds also finds herself in many scenes that were mentally and physically challenging for the actress — especially because she attempts to do all of her own stunts. But Simmonds says that just like with the first movie, Krasinski relied heavily on her opinion about how her character would find herself in a world like the one in the movie.

“He’s very experimental as a director, and he allows all of the actors involved to have an opinion and to provide some thoughts and insights on what we think our characters may feel in a certain moment or how we would respond,” she explained. “We did a lot of workshopping and brainstorming, which was extremely helpful and it allowed us to really dive into this world and what our characters would do.”

Everyone on set, Simmonds says, was really inclusive, with cast and crew members learning sign language and having ASL interpreters on set at all time. And while she feels that deaf actors are getting more and more opportunities and production companies are “very eager” to be more inclusive, she would still like to see some improvement in the kinds of opportunities offered to not only the deaf community but people with disabilities in general.

“I think it’s important for production companies and studios to look at characters that they develop and think, why not a deaf person? Or why not a person with a disability? And it doesn’t have to just be actors — It can be crew members as well. And this is not limited to just the deaf community, but the disability community in general,” she said.

“I would like to see more opportunities, not only in acting, but in directing, writing, and producing,” Simmonds added. “I would like to see more deaf and disability community members involved in the process and for stories to be shared through their eyes. I would love to see more characters with disabilities who can be heroes, and they’re not stigmatized as a person with a disability — that they don’t have to be saved. Because I think that it’s important for kids out there watching who maybe identify with them and say, ‘I don’t have to be saved. I could be a hero. I can do all of these things.’ That’s really, really important for me.”

“A Quiet Place Part II” is now in theaters.