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How fatherhood inspired John Krasinski’s latest movie, “IF”

Writer, director and actor John Krasinski’s filmography runs the gamut from the romantic comedy “Something Borrowed” to Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and his silent thriller “A Quiet Place” with wife Emily Blunt.

However, he says his latest film “IF” is his most personal project to date.

“I made this movie for my kids,” he said in an interview that aired on “CBS Mornings” on Monday, explaining he always wanted to make a movie for his two children but struggled to think of an idea.

The film, distributed by Paramount Pictures and out Friday, May 17, is about a young girl who has adventures with the left-behind imaginary friends of the world. Krasinski took on a triple role in the film, writing, directing and starring in it.

He said the idea came from observing his children with Blunt and seeing a “magical world” that his two daughters would go to without them. He observed how much fun they would have but saw that light and joy disappear when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“I saw their light starting to go out. And I saw that the world started to seep in, and that is the definition of growing up,” Krasinski said.

It was at that moment that Krasinski was inspired to create “IF” – as a lasting reminder to his children that the magical world they’ve created will forever be a sanctuary for them, regardless of the challenges the real world presents.

The film, though, just wasn’t for his children’s imaginary friends. It was also for the imaginary friend named “Sam Brace” that Krasinski had as an 8-year-old boy. He said the name Brace was an ode to the braces he wanted growing up.

The 44-year-old actor said Sam Brace also shared his love of film and would often accompany him on walks to a video store and re-enact movie scenes with him.

“He was my action movie buddy, he was my comedy buddy,” said Krasinski. “We went through a lot, me and Sam.”

“IF” features an all-star cast including Ryan Reynolds, Louis Gossett Jr. and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, adding a layer of intrigue as audiences guess which actor voices each imaginary character. Krasinski said that as he was writing the film, he would do it with his dream cast in mind—he was lucky enough to get each one of the actors he wanted by reaching out personally.

 “I just called everyone up and said ‘Listen, you have no reason to do this. It’s a movie about imaginary friends. It’s also helping kids cope with growing up and stuff like that.’ And I said ‘If you want to do it, great.’ I’ve never had quicker yeses in my life,” he said.

“The Office” Family Reunion

Another actor who quickly signed on for the film was Steve Carell, who Krasinski worked with in the hit TV show, “The Office.” The movie was a reunion for the pair who hadn’t seen each other in person since filming for the TV show wrapped up. Krasinski said he wrote Carell’s character with him specifically in mind.

“I didn’t know he was going to say yes. He might have been busy, might have had other scheduling things, whatever. And so, I wrote to him, I sent him the script,” Krasinski recalled. “He walked in and I had this big smile and I thought we were going to laugh and he came up and gave me the biggest hug and looked at me like a brother and said ‘I just wanted to say how proud I am of you.'”

It was a very emotional moment, Krasinski said.

“I just wept,” he said, “It meant the world to me because that’s family, you know. I mean that show, you know ‘The Office’ is family and I’ve always said… no matter where I go or what I do, I will never be known for anything more than ‘The Office’ and that’s the greatest honor of my life.”

Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert in the NBC hit series, said he, along with all of the cast, is excited about a potential spinoff for the show. He’s working with actor, Domhnall Gleeson, who will be attached to the project.

“We are all so excited that this world gets to continue,” Krasinski said.

Although not yet approached for a role in the spinoff, Krasinski remains open: “I would do anything for Greg [Daniels, creator of ‘The Office’], I would do anything for that family, I would do anything for ‘The Office,'” he said.

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