John Krasinski defends playing military, CIA characters amid claims of conservative politics

In a new interview with Esquire, John Krasinski defends some of his recent acting roles against criticism that he’s propping up conservative values.

in the 2016 Michael Bay-directed military thriller 13 Hours, Krasinski played a private military contractor and former Navy SEAL working in Benghazi. The casting, Esquire notes, drummed up theories that the former Office star was focused on playing “red-state heroes” who would appeal to conservative audiences. But Krasinski tells the magazine that critics are reading too much into his career choices — which he says are motivated by his personal ties to the military, not politics.

“That narrative is certainly not the narrative I intended to put out there,” the 40-year-old says. “When people look for something that they want to see, I can’t stop them from a subjective belief in something.

“I have 11 aunts and uncles and cousins who have been in the military or still are in the military,” he adds. “So it was a big thing on my list to get to do a military movie or show or something.”

Krasinski currently plays the titular CIA agent in Amazon Prime’s Jack Ryan series and has gotten flak for his vocal support of the CIA.

“As far as Jack Ryan and the CIA, I always say it’s about the people,” he explains. “I’ll always respect people who put their lives on the line for people like me, who they’ve never met.”

Krasinski says his family's military ties inspired him to star in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. (Photo: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Krasinski says his family's military ties inspired him to star in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. (Photo: Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

He also clarified his previous comment that “the CIA is something that we should all not only cherish, but be saying thank you for every single day” — which he says was aimed at the agents who serve the agency, rather than the organization itself.

“If you start breaking down every single CIA event, do I respect and honor all those? Of course not,” he tells the magazine. “Of course not. Do you respect and honor every facet of every single president? Of course not.”

He also shrugs off reviews claiming that A Quiet Place — the 2018 thriller he co-wrote, directed and starred in, alongside wife Emily Blunt — had some sort of conservative allegory.

“I never saw it that way or ever thought of it until it was presented to me in that way,” Krasinski, whose sequel comes out on March 20, says. “It wasn't about being, you know, silent and political time that had nothing to do with that. If anything it was about, you know, going into the dark and, and taking a chance when all hope looked lost, you take, you know, you fight for what's most important to you. Again, my whole metaphor was solely about parenthood.”

Elsewhere in the interview, the actor shared that he’d “absolutely love” to take part in an Office reunion, and joked about being passed over for Captain America.

“People have a sense that some of us are insanely competitive,” he says of fellow Boston native Chris Evans, who ultimately landed the role.” I've known Chris forever. So as soon as they said Chris Evans got the part, I was like, yeah, look at that guy. Are you kidding me? He is Captain America. And I just saw Chris a couple of weeks ago and we were still laughing about it. I said, ‘I love that you retired in my role.’”

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