John Krasinski On Work-Life Balance & 'The Hollars'

by Ronke Idowu Reeves

Actor John Krasinski is the director, producer, and star of the new film The Hollars (arriving in theaters August 26), a heartbreaking — and sometimes hilarious — film about a father-to-be (Krasinski) who must return to his family and hometown when his mother (Margo Martindale) is stricken by a medical emergency. The actor, married to actress Emily Blunt, is a father himself to two young daughters: two-year-old Hazel and two-month-old Violet. 

Krasinski spoke to Z Living about how The Hollars profoundly affected his approach to family, parenting, and the work-life balance challenges of being a working father.

In The Hollars, your character is nervously coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to be a father. How did the film personally affect your view of family?

It affected me one hundred percent. When I signed on as an actor to the film six or seven years ago I didn’t have kids. But then, when we started shooting and I became the director, my daughter was four-and-a-half months old. So I understood the idea of a man at the doorstep of being a father. But more than that, I understood the existential, magical connection between families. I understood my parents better after having a baby, I understood my brothers better. I started thinking about things like having a family name, having a group and lineage that I belonged to—things like that.

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Did the movie bring up personal questions for you about being a father?

This movie doesn’t ask questions like, “Can I afford to have kids?” or “Am I a cool enough dad?” It’s all about the big question of, "Now that I have someone that I’m responsible for, am I good enough to be responsible for this person?” My dad is my hero in every single way and if I can be a quarter of the guy that he is, I win. That’s my internal struggle: Can I be the best dad I can be for my daughters? Those were the initial feelings I had being a father, but luckily I worked through those and I’m more confident.
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Regardless of their line of work, all parents constantly struggle about how to spend more quality time with their children. Tell us about some of the challenges you face as a working parent in Hollywood.

There are very few, because let’s be honest, [my line of work] is a fantasy camp. This life is not real, so to say I have complaints about it would be insane. But, one of the adjustments you have to make is that when you do go away [to shoot a film], you go away for a while. So, you have to figure it out. I’m not the first actor that has raised a family and I know there are other people who’ve done it before me. Also, my friends who are in business travel all the time and they don’t see their kids, so I’m not unique or special to this situation. And yet it doesn’t stop me from wanting to make sure I’m the best at it for me.
So ultimately, how do you juggle it all and make it work?

I was lucky enough to be brought up in the most loving situation, so I’m bringing my children up in the same way.  Basically, I try to spend every second I can with my kids. And I mean every single second. When I’m not working I’m at home, and it’s just the best. I love nothing more than being in a small pop-up tent with my daughter in our living room playing whatever she wants to play. So it’s been amazing. But it is a challenge. And moving forward, I think the opportunity I’ve been afforded with my wife is that hopefully we can start switching off [who is working and who is home] and planning for it. We’ll start planning for one of us to always be there [at home] which I hope we can achieve.

Lead image credit: Jaguar PS /

WATCH on Z Living: Healthy Gourmet, where nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title join forces and battle between taste and nutrition, helping home cooks create nutritious and tasty meals that can feed a crowd. See a sneak preview here.

Tell us in the comments: If you're a parent, how do you balance family time and work?




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