John Krasinski officially became an action hero when he signed on to play a globetrotting C.I.A. agent in Jack Ryan, but it turns out The Office star was saving lives around the world before he became famous.
In a wide-ranging interview with Playboy, Krasinski opened up to the magazine about saving a woman’s life while he was living in Costa Rica as a teenager — a story he said he’s never shared publicly.
The A Quiet Place actor, 38, spent six months in the Central American country after he graduated high school. He lived with a Costa Rican family who helped him with his Spanish and worked as an English teacher, “so it was anything but a cool, pura vida Costa Rica experience,” he joked.
“One of the places I went was this amazing beach called Manuel Antonio that I didn’t realize had an insane riptide,” he explained. “While I was swimming there — this is a story I’ve never told anybody — this Costa Rican girl and an American guy were swimming right next to me, and we were knee-deep. I went underwater for a second, and when I came back up he was screaming at the top of his lungs. Literally in three seconds the girl had been swept 150 yards out.”
Fortunately, Krasinski’s mother was a lifeguard and had taught him to swim from a very early age. “In that moment, I didn’t ask anyone. There was no one to help me. I just went out and tried to save her,” he said.
“And then of course when I got out there, I was in a crosscurrent with her. It was one of those moments of ‘Oh my God, you just made a poor choice and it might cost you your life.’ ”
But Krasinski said he “didn’t think about it like that” until later. In the moment, he said, “It was just this survival instinct. It was really weird — like the girl was asking me to let her die. But I got her back.”
When he managed to get the girl “within 20 yards or so of the shore” some surfers swam out to help them back the rest of the way.
The incident proved to be life altering. “Granted, not everybody needs to have life-or-death experiences, but that changed my entire life. All of a sudden I grew up,” he said.
Living abroad also helped with his adjustment to college life. “When I got to Brown, I remember kids calling their parents and saying, ‘I miss home’ and ‘I’m lonely,’ which I totally get, but I was so far beyond that,” he said.
His time in Costa Rica “just ripped all the protective layers apart and allowed me to get hurt.”
Krasinski’s new film, which costars his wife Emily Blunt, hits theaters April 6.