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For her audition for the post-apocalyptic thriller A Quiet Place (2018), Millicent Simmonds was instructed to cry and express the emotions she would feel if her father was leaving. After submitting her audition tape, the 13-year-old received a personal email from the project’s director and lead actor, John Krasinski, saying she landed the part. In turn, Millicent portrayed Regan, the deaf daughter of Krasinski’s Lee Abbott. A few months after A Quiet Place became both a box-office and critical success, Krasinski Facetimed Millicent Simmonds to run the idea of a sequel past her. Millicent initially wondered, “How could you follow up this movie? It was so perfect. Why would you have a sequel?” 

 

Accepting the Challenge

Krasinski, who wrote, co-produced, and directed A Quiet Place Part II, shared during an interview: 

 

“I would normally let an actress read the script and see for herself, but I wanted to—probably in a weird, fake, parental way now that I’m her fake dad—reach out to her and let her know that she would be the lead of the franchise and that the franchise was in her hands, and that’s nothing to be afraid of. 

 

And I needed to tell her that, I imagine at the time she was 15, as a 15-year-old person, you’re thinking that’s too much pressure. And what I wanted to explain to her was that the only reason why I thought of that idea is because she had already done it. She had already done the work to show how incredibly talented she was, how incredibly deep she was, and how incredibly able she was to pull this off. [It] was the reason I even had the idea in the first place. And I think I calmed her down enough to read the script.”

 

Millicent recalls that conversation well. “When John mentioned [me taking the lead], actually I couldn’t believe it. I mean, what an honor … a huge honor to be a part of it,” she says. John further explained that the sequel would be much more action-oriented and emotionally intense. “And when I heard that it was, of course I had to do it,” the young actress says.

 

On Playing Regan in Part II

Of her daring and defiant character Regan in A Quiet Place Part II, Millicent explains, “Her relationships with everyone in the family have shifted. And now she has to grow herself and find her journey, and her dream, her vision … She’s having to have these hard conversations with her family.” Regan’s deafness and American Sign Language are integral to her heroism.

 

Millicent explains how fun it was to be reunited with her castmates. Krasinski, Emily Blunt who plays Regan’s mom Evelyn, and Noah Jupe who plays the little brother Marcus indeed felt much like family on set. In fact, Millie and Noah are very close friends after spending so much time together during shoots.

 

Signing on Set

While on set, Millicent helped to teach her castmates how to sign. She explained to Yahoo!: “We had an [American Sign Language] coach and a sign language interpreter who, if people had questions about deaf culture and the history of sign language, or to make sure the sign articulation was correct, or if they wanted to learn more signs than just their lines, then they would teach that, and I really appreciated that.” Impressively, Noah became a fluent signer in his desire to communicate with his good friend, Millie, during A Quiet Place.

 

Millicent’s Break into the Business

Millicent initially never imagined she’d become a professional actress, but that changed at the age of 12 when her drama teacher informed her of an open casting call for the upcoming film Wonderstruck. Millie’s mom used a cell phone to tape her daughter’s audition for Todd Haynes’ mystery drama. “That’s how it began. It was a really simple process,” the Utah native recalls. Soon, the tween found herself starring alongside Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in the 2017 film playing the strong, curious Rose. 

 

A Role Model with a Bright Future

Growing up deaf, Millicent sensed people pitied her for her disability. Sometimes she even wondered if she was not normal. “But after filming and just kind of growing up more, now I’m finding who I am. I can tell people, ‘I’m proud to be deaf,’” the actress, now 18 years old, beams. And she wants to make an impact on others in the deaf community. 

 

“I want kids out there to see themselves represented on screen,” she told CBS This Morning. “They can be the ones to save people. They don’t have to be saved.” As for her own future, Millicent just graduated from high school and is open to perhaps directing, producing, or writing. “I just want to remind myself that I shouldn’t limit myself,” she says. Not to mention, a third Quiet Place is currently in development.