Polly Morgan interview: ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ cinematographer
“It was such a visual script,” reveals cinematographer Polly Morgan of “A Quiet Place Part II.” John Krasinski served as writer and director for this sequel, and his full creative vision was apparent on the page. The vision was inspired by some of the world’s greatest filmmakers, and Krasinski’s ambitious visual storytelling allowed Morgan to expand the universe of this franchise in impressive new ways. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Morgan inherited the world of this film from Charlotte Bruus Christensen, who served as cinematographer on the first movie in the series. “I loved the first movie and I thought Charlotte did such a beautiful job with it,” she reveals, “it had a really strong visual language.” While Morgan admits to feeling intimidated by following those footsteps, the plot’s natural progression allowed her to carry forth some of Christensen’s style while pushing forward with her own creative choices. In the sequel the family leaves their farmhouse, the main setting for Part One, to explore the world beyond. “It inherently grew to have a bit more life of its own,” says Morgan.
The opening sequence of the film provides Morgan with a great opportunity to show her skills right off the bat. It’s a prologue, set on the day in which the alien creatures first crash land on Earth. As soon as the monsters appear, it’s utter chaos. Morgan purposefully set the pace of this scene at a different clip than the rest of the film to keep the audience on their toes. “You can’t catch your breath from the moment the movie starts,” she describes.
She strung together a series of impressive long takes to make the scene work, including a tense moment as Evelyn (Emily Blunt) races her kids down Main Street, frantically avoiding the carnage spilling out in front of them. The idea was generated by Krasinski, with Morgan revealing that “he kind of saw it like ‘Children of Men.’”
What sets Morgan’s work apart from the long take shot from inside a car in that Alfonso Cuaron film is the perspective. She places the camera down low, giving the audience the same perspective as one of Evelyn’s kids in the back seat. “We were very inspired by Steven Spielberg when we made this movie,” she states, referencing the revered director’s adventure films like “Jurassic Park” which put kids (and their point of view) at the heart of the story. It was all about taking the viewer “back into that experience of being a child” for the cinematographer.