John Krasinski’s directorial career really took off with A Quiet Place, one of the better (mainstream) sci-fi films of the last few years. The third entry into the franchise, though, comes from filmmaker Michael Sarnoski, who previously directed the phenomenal Nicolas Cage film Pig (seriously, you should see it).
This third film is technically a prequel, titled A Quiet Place: Day One. Krasinski still has a story credit, but the screenplay and direction comes from Sarnoski, and while I have enjoyed Krasinski’s efforts in this world, I am interested to see what a new filmmaker does with the concept. A Quiet Place feels like an infinite story world, like you could just hand the general concept to a series of filmmakers, and they would each turn in something different and interesting (they should just do this! Also do it with the Predator franchise after Prey proved the concept works!).
Day One stars Lupita Nyong’o, Djimon Hounsou, Alex Wolff, and Stranger Things breakout Joseph Quinn. There is also a cat. I am not going to lie—I’m going to need to know if the cat is okay before I commit to this film. (DoesTheDogDie.com has added a helpful “does the cat die” filter). The trailer dropped yesterday, and it looks really good. Lupita is out with her cat in New York City, the loudest city, when the aliens attack. We already saw what that looked like in a small town in A Quiet Place Part II, now we can see it in a city. I am not even going to pretend to understand my own psychology that loves alien invasion scenes but cannot stand to see a cat harmed.
This trailer was expected to arrive on Super Bowl Sunday, since CBS is broadcasting the game, they get the in-house ad buys for their own products. They’re expected to go heavy on Paramount+, which is probably less about saving the platform than ginning up subscriber numbers before Paramount’s inevitable sale, but they are still expected to include a few theatrical film trailers, of which this was potentially one. They could still run it during the game, it happens more often now that ads are unveiled online days before the game, but I do think there’s something to the surprise drop mid-game that is fun. I’m trying not to read too much into it that the folks at Paramount elected not to do that with Day One.
Also, I want to highlight that Day One is Lupita’s first lead role since Us in 2019. I have gotten some emails over the last few months to the tune of “you are being ridiculous worrying about Lily Gladstone, she’ll be fine even if she loses the Oscar”. Well, yeah, she’ll be fine, life does not end upon losing an Oscar. But I do want to point to the example of Lupita Nyong’o, whose talent has never been in question since she broke out in 12 Years a Slave. She won an Oscar for that film in 2014, and I remember us fretting back then about what her next opportunities would be, because we knew then, as we do now, that the entertainment industry is not equitable. Let’s run it down.
Since she won an Oscar, Lupita was cast in New New Star Wars, but it was a motion capture/voice over role (same for her work in The Jungle Book). It wasn’t until Us in 2019, five years after her Oscar win, that she was back in the Oscar conversation—and never really a contender because like comedy, the Academy does not take horror seriously. But Us was the first time since 2013 that Lupita was even a mention on the trophy trail. And it would be another five years after Us before she had another leading role.
She did have a four-month stint on Broadway in 2016, but I don’t think you can look at Lupita’s post-Oscar career and say with confidence that she became one of her generation’s leading ladies. A major talent, yes, but even as an Oscar winner with undeniable talent, roles worthy of her ability, and her screen presence, have been few and far between. And she WON.
So yeah, I’ll keep worrying about Lily. Because if you live in the real world, you know the opportunities for women of color, even when they win the biggest, most high-profile award in their industry, aren’t the same as the white women they work with.