While John Krasinski’s on-screen persona once veered more toward pleated-pants-wearing workaday cog at a dysfunctional Scranton paper company in The Office, he’s now squarely in the action star category thanks to roles like terrorist-hunting C.I.A. agent in Jack Ryan. (Still, we'll never stop loving you, Jim Halpert.) And the more we learn about Krasinski in real life, the more we realize his authentic self dovetails perhaps better with the adventure-seeking hero role.
Exhibit A: Krasinski just told Playboy a story he’d never previously shared publicly. So it goes, he was living in Costa Rica as a teenager following high school graduation. He spent six months there living with a local family while working as an English teacher and improving his Spanish skills.
“One of the places I went was this amazing beach called Manuel Antonio that I didn’t realize had an insane riptide,” he told Playboy. “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.”
In what was a lucky break for everyone involved, Krasinski happened to be an excellent swimmer, having grown up in a household with a mother who had been a lifeguard. So he went right to work: “In that moment, I didn’t ask anyone. There was no one to help me. I just went out and tried to save her.”
But then he found himself at risk, having underestimated the danger. “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,’” he said.
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.”
He successfully dragged the girl about 20 yards from the shore, when a group of surfers joined the rescue and helped get everyone back to safety.
The story ended happily, but made an indelible impression on Krasinski. “Granted, not everybody needs to have life-or-death experiences, but that changed my entire life. All of a sudden I grew up.”
In fact, in addition to just the traumatic incident, his entire experience living abroad changed his life, he explained, saying that his stint in Costa Rica “just ripped all the protective layers apart and allowed me to get hurt.”
He said, “When I got to Brown [for college], 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.”
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