One of the best decisions director/writer John Krasinski made was in casting Millicent Simmonds as a lead in the sequel. Casting a hearing impaired actor made brilliant sense in that she could give her family a leg up having caused them to silently communicate already.
That helps them handle a more silent world. Their skills at connecting through American sign language, lends plausibility to their ability to survive the invaders’ onslaught. By giving the Abbotts this advantage, it also placed in their hands the device that proves to be an effective weapon against the marauding creatures.
Born March 6, 2003, Simmonds has starred in 2017 drama Wonderstruck and A Quiet Place won her nomination for several awards for best youth performance.
Interview with Actress Millicent Simmonds on ‘A Quiet Place Part II.’
Q: Your character has an even bigger role to play this time. How did you feel about that and was it challenging for you?
MS: Yes, it was very different. It was a big challenge especially from the first movie to this one. Now, Regan is dealing with the loss of her father and how it affects her and her family relationships. The dynamics are changing. She’s very depressed. She now has to go out and face the world and do what she thinks is the right thing to do. She asks herself what she thinks her father would do in that situation. It’s a very emotional time for her in the Quiet Place, Part II.
Q: Are you as brave as your character?
MS: I actually bring Regan with me everywhere I go now. In some situations I go, “My gosh, what would Regan do in this situation?” If I think something is a big deal, I would think, “Well, Regan wouldn’t see this as a big deal, so what’s your problem? Just get through it and move on.”
Q: When you talked about making the first film, you said you did some bonding with John, Emily and Noah having dinner together. What was it like to come back to a set this time? Did you see them outside of the movie set?
MS: After Part One, we were so sad to leave each other. We were together every day and so used to seeing each other every day; it was so intimate. So after that, leaving was hard, but we did keep in touch. All of us did and anytime we were in the same area, we would take the time to have dinner together to make sure we saw each other. When we found out we were working on A Quiet Place Part II, I was so excited because I really missed them. It was great to come back together.
Q: What was it like working with John and Emily this time around? They have such great chemistry, not only here on the set but also in real life as well.
MS: I agree that John and Emily have a great chemistry, not just on film but in real life. Actually, in real life, they shine more. They are co-collaborators. I think my experience this time around, what was different between the first and second film is that we actually got to travel to new locations. So we were together a lot during our travels. We got to share that experience. We scouted locations together, too, “What do you think? Is this one going to work? Is this one not?” And they were so great. Also, John has this amazing vision and a fabulous sense of humor — a lot from Emily — so it just made the whole experience perfect.
Q: Your character grew significantly from the first film. How much did you consciously prepare for your role in this sequel?
MS: I really didn’t do a lot of prep work. I knew that this one would be more action-oriented, so I worked out more than I normally do to prepare myself, which helped. I wanted to make sure that I was physically healthy. I made sure I rested enough, took care of myself, ate well, and slept enough. For the mental part of it, when we worked many days in a row, I just really had to watch that my health was good
and that I took care of myself. It really helped that I’m young!
Q: Would you like to be seen as a role model for new generations?
MS: It is unbelievable for me to be here. I really never had someone to look up to like me, a deaf person, when I was growing up. You don’t often have that chance so it’s a big honor to be a part of, not only the deaf community, but to represent [it as well]. To do it in a right way and educate society about what’s possible, to be part of this generation [is a great honor and opportunity].
Q: Have you ever seen cases on social networks of children being bullied because they’re deaf? You’re successful so what do you suggest or be your advice to them?
MS: It’s important to educate everyone about our perspectives in life. We have different perspectives and live different lives. It’s important that you understand that. I think it’s important that we start to get industry support for what we do. That’s why I also want to encourage more writers, directors, and producers to be more open to including people from the deaf community. Not only the deaf community, but the greater disabled community as well. I think seeing other stories and listening to what other communities have to say will just make the world a better place. Whether it’s through TV or film, I think this is a way to educate more people about different ways to live. And, I think the important thing is just being nice.
Q: John said that your mother got very emotional when she saw the movie, especially in the scenes with the envelope, because she’s more aware of your perspective. Do you think that doing this helped in your relationship with your mom?
MS: I think, yes. First I’m going to say my mother did cry when she saw the movie. It was emotional for her to see it. It’s so visually powerful, right? In the past I would tell her what my experience was. But Regan can’t see what’s behind her, and you see how terrifying those moments are in the film. It just offered an opportunity for her to understand how I feel or what my experience is; we’re closer than
Q: And what about collaboration with Cillian Murphy? You two play significant roles in the film and do quite a bit of bonding. How did you prepare for each other?
MS: When I met Cillian, he looked like a homeless guy, right? I was like, ”Wow, who are you”? When we were working together, I recognized that our acting process is very similar. That really helped us move quickly through our scenes, to find those moments. He’s a very chill person, very down-to-earth, and he always made me feel down-to-earth. His acting… It’s great, so it really affected me as an actor, too.
Q: There are some people around 15 or 18, who don’t know what they want to be in their life. Did you ever think that you’d choose your career so early? Do you want to be an actress forever?
MS: I’m going to keep acting. As long as I keep getting opportunities, I’m going to pursue them. I’m very open to writing, producing, directing, taking any other roles, and maybe more behind-the-camera roles. That would be an interesting experience for me to pursue.
For people who have no idea what they want to do in their future, I think they should find something that makes you happy and whatever that is, that will gratify you. I’m doing well, I feel good about myself and think that’s the most important thing — to appreciate what you have.
Q: What makes you happy?
MS: Oh my gosh. So many things. Hanging out with my family, Food, of course. Traveling, reading books, riding my motorcycle with my dad. Looking at old cars.
Q: The film is a lot about empathy and extending your hand to others. Do you feel that that’s lacking nowadays?
MS: Yes, I do. I guess what I want people to take away from this film is that whatever situation you’re in, find confidence in yourself to move on. I think that my character Regan in Part II… Because Regan loses her father and, after that loss, she has to do what she think is right. That brings Regan joy, to do what’s right. Because she has to deal with all the regrets she has with the leftover mess from her father. Right?
Q: How was your relationship with Noah? What do you think of people who are saying on social networks that you two look very cute together, like a real brother or sister. How was your relationship with him？
MS: I didn’t know people who thought we really looked like brother and sister. But we’re the children in the movie and it’s rare for us to be in Hollywood so young. We quickly became close. We had so much in common even though we live in different countries. Noah was very eager to learn sign language and we wanted to know each other. We were very curious about each other and became friends, instant friends. Now he’s one of my best friends.
Q: There are a lot of people who say there should be a sequel or a prequel. Would you like more stories, like a franchise?
MS: It’d be very interesting to see what would come from this story. I always wonder what’s going to happen next for this family. I love Emily, John, Noah and Cillian and Djimon who are now on board. I just want to see what would happen with their lives. With John’s creative vision, I just think, I don’t know. We’ve proven, now, that we could do a second one. Could we do more? Who knows?
Q: Regan is the one who thinks there are people worth saving even if sometimes it doesn’t look like it. Is that something you wanted to put out there in the world, that you always can lend a hand?
MS: That’s very important, 100%. I personally believe that there is no such thing as a bad guy or a good guy. We’re all humans who sometimes happen to do bad things, but you’re not a bad person. We just need to understand each other more, and need more education, more respect for each other. Also we need some boundaries, just to respect others. It’s very important.
Q: What’s your perspective on working for several years as an actor? What do you think is lacking in the film industry right now?
MS: That’s a good question. I think that we need to be working on, like what you said earlier, about the bullying incidents. If people are bullied, I think that we need to be more open minded. That would be one way to address it.
Actually, putting more effort in getting people’s stories out there, making it right and authentic, really representing cultures, languages, communities in the right way — that’s part of being real and being respectful of each other. I do see things changing already. Don’t you?
Q: As far as hiring female directors, it’s slowly changing.
MS: There you have it. See, 100%.
Q: You were required to do a lot of physical action, What was the toughest scene you shot for this film?
MS: The scenes that required both emotional and physical energy, the stunt work were the toughest. I mean, of course in real life, I don’t want to get hurt. Right? And I had a stunt double there, always, who would show me the safest techniques for doing the stunt. So I could make sure I did it safe and the stunt double would always tell me what to be aware of. And also John always made sure that everything was safe on set and if everyone was comfortable before we went ahead with the shoot. So, yeah.
Q: Regan is forced to go out in the world, do things, and learn to be more mature. Do you think you’re at the point that you have to go out in the world and grow up as well?
MS: I’m still living with my parents, but I do agree with you 100%. After the loss of her dad, Regan’s pushed out of her comfort zone. She now has to leave her family. She’s trying to think outside of herself, “What can I do for others?” In my real life, I’m not there yet. Oh, Regan would love to travel. I mean, she’s on this journey, so it’s very different for sure.
Q: Do you live here in New York?
MS: No, I live in Utah. I was born and raised in Utah. It’s not a common place for a Hollywood actress to be living in, for people to say they’re from, I guess.
Q: Are you planning to move elsewhere to pursue your career?
MS: I’m still trying to figure out who I am. And I want to travel, and at some point, move out of Utah and see somewhere else, gain new experiences in life and see how that goes.
Here’s the Trailer of the film.