John Krasinski says he wrote new movie 'If' for his 2 daughters

Krasinski appears in a new episode of the "Pop Culture Moms" podcast.

June 13, 2024, 4:13 AM

John Krasinski says his new film "If" is for his daughters.

In a new, special Father's Day episode of the "Pop Culture Moms" podcast, out Thursday, the actor-turned-director and dad of two said he wanted to capture the magic of childhood in the new movie, which he wrote, directed and stars in.

"As a parent, I think everyone knows that you recapture so much of your childhood by watching your kids grow up. Them being children is this magical place that we feel we can never go back to and we're not invited into so I did [with 'If']," Krasinski said. "I wrote this for my kids because I stood in the doorway … watching them go into this magical place that we're not invited into and you see not only how joyful they are and how happy they are, but how authentic they are, how they get to be themselves [and] whether they're having a tea party, a dance party, doing voices, they're so real."

"If," released in May, follows the story of a young girl named Bea, played by Cailey Fleming, who starts seeing the imaginary friends of everyone around her amid the news that her father, played by Krasinski, needs heart surgery. Bea's mom died previously and she struggles with the idea of potentially losing her father, who strives to keep her as much a kid as he possibly can.

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski attend Paramount's "If" New York premiere at SVA Theater on May 13, 2024 in New York City.
Mike Coppola/Getty Images, FILE

Krasinski, who is a father to daughters Hazel and Violet with his wife, actress Emily Blunt, said he used to watch his daughters play make-believe often and it wasn't until the coronavirus pandemic impacted his kids' play that he was inspired to work on "If."

"It was actually the pandemic that really got me thinking about the movie because their light started to go out, and they started playing fewer and fewer imaginary games," he said. "I just thought, 'This can't happen.' They were asking big questions about, 'Are we going to be OK?' And I thought that's the definition of growing up and that choice about whether you stay a kid or grow up doesn't have to be made here. So I wrote a movie about how that magical world … it will always be there for you."

Krasinski said he credits his two daughters for keeping him "young and youthful" and cherishes spending quality time with them.

"Whether you get lucky enough to be invited to a tea party, that's amazing. But it might just be playing a card game. It might just be asking about their day. It might just be walking them to school," he said. "The more you can interface with them on a very real level, where they let you in, that they see you as part of their world, rather than that parent who's probably gonna make them go to bed early or something, that's the joy of parenting for me."

As his kids and their friends grow up, Krasinski said he's trying to be present in their lives and realize that they can be much smarter and more brilliant than he may have initially realized.

"It's really about strapping in and just saying, 'I'm going to be present. I don't have all the answers but I'm going to try. I'm just going to try to have these bigger conversations and get through it,'" Krasinski said.

Krasinski said parents don't need to have all the answers but they can be there for their kids to start and have conversations with them.

"You don't have to have all the answers, but how is it affecting them? And let them lead the conversation rather than lead them through it," he said.

And just like his wife, Emily Blunt, has been open about experiencing "mom guilt," Krasinski said he's not immune to feeling "dad guilt" too but they don't see it as separate struggles.

"There is no mom or dad guilt. It's us as a family. We're all in it together," he said. "But I will say that it is difficult. And we've had many conversations with our kids, first and foremost being that when we have to go away for work, there are some people who don't geographically go away, but their parents' jobs take them away till 8 p.m. or 10 p.m. or you go on business trips over the weekend. So we're all in it together, just in different aspects as parents."

Krasinski said he also hopes even though his work can draw him away from his kids, that his children see that working on movies like "If," a project he embraced, will inspire their futures.

"When they see why you go away is because it's something you love, then that'll inspire them to do the most important thing, I think, which is whatever they decide to do in their lives," Krasinski said. "And if you love it, then you get to have experiences like Emily and I get to have and that would be the biggest bonus of going away all the time for work."