EXCLUSIVE: “The 53rd Cinema--that’s where we fell in love with movies”

“Stephen King liked the movie and that was pretty damn cool.”

Scott Beck and Bryan Woods have unique love for film. So it’s no wonder the Quad City natives and Bettendorf Class of 2003 graduates are the writers of the one of the top grossing movies of 2018.

“A Quiet Place,” starring John Krasinski and his wife Emily Blunt, is a horror film that was also directed by Krasinski.

The movie, which takes place in 2020, is about a human race that has been nearly wiped out by blind creatures who hunt by sound. The film follows the story of the Abbott family: husband Lee (Krasinski), wife Evelyn (Blunt), their daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds), and their two sons Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Beau (Cade Woodward).

In the film, the Abbott family must remain silent so as not to alert nearby creatures, so for a major portion of the film, the characters don’t speak.

“It really came from our love of silent films from the early-20th century,” Beck said. “At the time we came up with the idea, we were watching a lot of movies by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.”

The two said those filmmakers used pure, visual techniques to tell stories. That’s what inspired them to write a modern, silent film-like movie.

However, the movie is not completely silent. The film uses different sounds and music to create a terrifying aspect.

“We always talked about using sound to be like the shark in ‘Jaws,’ where that’s the most terrifying aspect of it, so we married the idea of silent films with our love of sound design,” Beck said.

In the film, Lee and Evelyn’s daughter Regan was written as being deaf, so when it came time for the part to be cast, they believe the picking of Simmonds was right.

“When it came time to make the movie, the decision to cast Millie, who is actually deaf in real-life, was just a really special way to enhance that role,” Beck said.

The film was released in the United States on April 6 and soon after, the writers were back in their hometown to view the film.

“The 53rd Cinema--that’s where we fell in love with movies,” Woods said.

They said many of the films that inspired “A Quiet Place” were seen at Showcase Cinema 53, now Rave Motion Pictures.

“Not only was it special because of the venue itself, but having friends and family and classmates; people we went to school with at Bettendorf Middle School or Bettendorf High School, that we hadn’t seen in years come out to support us was incredibly meaningful,” Woods said.

While “A Quiet Place” was being shot in New York, the two were simultaneously filming another movie in Kentucky.

“We’re actually in post-production right now of another film called ‘Haunt,’” Beck said.

The horror movie takes place on Halloween, and the duo is hoping to have the film released by either Halloween 2018 or Halloween 2019.

For those who enjoyed “A Quiet Place,” there are more like it on its way. Although the two could not say much about it, they did say that there are a few scripts they are working on.

“What we can say is that they’re in line with ‘A Quiet Place’ where we love to pursue original ideas that demand to be seen on the big screen. Those are the movies we always loved growing up,” Beck said.

Throughout the whirlwind following the release of the film, the former members of the Bettendorf Growl staff still credit the Quad Cities to the start of it all.

“The Quad Cities, you know, is where we grew up and where we learned how to make movies and where we fell in love with movies, so even in the writing process, all of those elements kind of coalesce. We’re always trying to make movies that we feel represent either the community or the values of the community, obviously mixed in with an alien here and there, that never hurts,” Beck said.

The film can still be caught on the big screen at local theatres.


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