A Quiet Place Part II Let Cillian Murphy Flex Some Theater Acting Skills

One of the best things about the "Quiet Place" series, the thing that sets it apart from so many other horror franchises, is the absence of typical dialogue. The characters can rarely speak without risking a violent death, so when they do talk, it feels like a huge moment. It made working on "A Quiet Place: Part II" a particularly good fit for Cillian Murphy, whose character barely got to talk outside the short flashback opening. Many actors love a good monologue, but for Murphy, the most exciting part of the movie was getting to use those skills he learned in his early acting years, back when he doing theater.

"I did theater for about four or five years before I ever did any screen work," Murphy said to The Hollywood Reporter. "So I feel like I've done a lot of physical acting, and since I've continued to do theater, it was a real sort of liberating experience to get to explore some of that on screen." 

Murphy's character in the film, Emmett, spends a lot of time with Regan (Millicent Simmons), a deaf girl whose ability to communicate through sign language has given her family an unexpected advantage in this sound-based apocalypse. Emmett doesn't know sign language, but he does remember the word for "dive" thanks to that one interaction with Regan at a baseball game at the beginning of the movie.

The highlight of the series

The scene where Emmett gives her the signal for dive isn't just great because it's a nice callback, but because of how well acted it is. You can see the restrained excitement on Emmett's face from him finally knowing the right signal, as well as his desperation for her to see the signal and him bracing himself for the risky move he's about to pull. There's a lot to do at once here, and Murphy nails it.

"Most screen acting is about the close-up nowadays," Murphy said, "which is good, but when you get a chance to express yourself non-verbally and physically, that's really something to enjoy and to relish."

Considering how so many movies and shows are dialogue focused (and how you can barely hear the dialogue half the time), the visual storytelling we get to see throughout the first two "Quiet Place" films is a breath of fresh air. The next entry in the series is titled "A Quiet Place: Day One," and will presumably take place at the very beginning of the apocalypse before anyone had access to the Abbott family's secret weapon. It looks like this is a series that understands its core appeal, and will continue to give actors a chance to show off their non-verbal performance skills. The next movie is expected to come out sometime in 2024, and we'll be waiting — quietly, of course — for its release.