John Krasinski reveals that he wrote main IF role only for Steve Carell

John Krasinski opened up about forthcoming film IF and revealed that he wrote Steve Carell’s part specifically with him in mind – before he’d even spoken to his former The Office co-star about the role.

IF, a family film set in a world where imaginary friends are real, sees Carell voice animated creature Blue, alongside a cast that also includes Ryan Reynolds and Krasinski himself.

At the New York premiere of IF on Monday (14 May), Krasinski brought up the 2018 horror A Quiet Place, which he wrote and directed, and said he had done the same thing with wife Emily Blunt’s role in the film.

“The last time I wrote a part for someone was for her in A Quiet Place and I was too nervous to tell her about it, and the same thing happened with Steve,” he said, gesturing to Blunt.

“I was writing Blue to be Steve because of his sense of humour and how sweet he is, and how incredibly vulnerable and also how big and open-hearted he is and he gives great hugs,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

“So I was like, ‘If he doesn’t do this, we’re in trouble.’”

Thankfully, Carell was on board and everything was smooth sailing.

“And as soon as he said yes, it was like a family member giving you that love and support that I needed. As soon as he jumped on, I knew we were off to the races,” Krasinski added.

IF follows a young girl named Bea, played by Cailey Fleming, who can see IFs—everybody’s imaginary friends—and decides to reunite forgotten IFs with their kids, along with neighbour Cal, played by Reynolds.

Carell voices the big purple monster Blue and Emily Blunt voices Unicorn, among a supporting cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Awkwafina, Matt Damon, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Maya Rudolph.

Krasinski has spoken about getting this formidable cast together, and how he brought everyone on board.

“I gotta say, the most yeses of my career was on this movie and the fastest yeses because they all love the idea of imagination, going back to your childhood,” Krasinski said on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Cast members pose together at the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “IF
Cast members pose together at the premiere of Paramount Pictures’ “IF" (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Krasinski also detailed his process writing the film, explaining how he involved his children in the planning of the imaginary friends, and if their actual imaginary friends made it to the film.

“I pitched them the idea of the script, I showed them all the drawings I did while I was writing the script,” he said.

“They told me what was cute about certain IFs, what wasn’t cute, what they wanted to change.

“Ally the pink alligator is one of my daughter’s and the other one is the flaming marshmallow, so it’s a family affair. And my wife’s the unicorn so we’re all involved.”

Reynolds also talked about his role and how he used Gene Wilder’ portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to “embrace mischief” and his own kids as inspiration to help him understand his character.

“They have just a constant and kind of ceaseless sense of play and I love that, and I watch them and I find myself kind of doing impressions of my kids,” he said.

“Shawn Levy, who directs [the forthcoming superhero film] Deadpool & Wolverine, he called it about halfway through shooting that movie – I was writing the script in the voice of my 4-year-old daughter Betty at many times, just in the cadence of how she speaks.

“So I find I really absorb a lot of their vibes and translate them through whatever my adult idiocy would be.”

IF is set to release in theaters on Friday.