John Krasinski's Heart ‘Shattered’ When His Kids Asked ‘Are We Going to Be Okay?’ During Pandemic (Exclusive)

Krasinski shares his daughters Hazel and Violet with wife Emily Blunt

<p>ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty</p> John Krasinski and Emily Blunt


John Krasinski and Emily Blunt

John Krasinski is reflecting on the emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on his family.

The Office alum, 44, spoke with PEOPLE about making his new film IF, which Krasinski wrote based on his own daughters' experiences with imaginary friends. Krasinski, who shares his girls Hazel, 10, and Violet, 7, with wife Emily Blunt, explains that he got the idea for this movie during the pandemic when his kids started playing fewer imaginary games.

"I made this movie for my kids. I've always wanted to make a movie for my kids, but I actually wasn't sure what that movie would look like," Krasinski explains. "I had had the idea about 10 years ago to do something with imaginary friends, but I wasn't quite sure what the take on it would be."

"And then it was the pandemic that gave me the idea because it was when I saw their lights starting to go out and they started doing fewer and fewer imaginary games, and then they started to let the real world in," the dad of two says.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

<p>Courtesy of Paramount Pictures</p> Cailey Fleming (center) in 'IF'

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Cailey Fleming (center) in 'IF'

Related: John Krasinski Shares How His Kids’ Imaginary Friends Inspired the Family Movie IF (Exclusive)

"And I said to Emily, 'That's kind of the definition of growing up, isn't it? When you let fear in, the real world in.' And so they started asking bigger questions and then finally said, 'Are we going to be okay?' And I thought, 'Okay, we have to stop and I have to do this movie right now to show them that magical world they created, they can go back anytime they want."

When asked if it broke his heart to hear his daughters asking that question during the pandemic, Krasinski says, "I think shattered is the better word. It shattered my heart."

The PEOPLE Puzzler crossword is here! How quickly can you solve it? Play now!

"And again, it's one of those things where everyone has a bad day, so it was a good opportunity to talk them through it and everything like that, but it was nice to have a tangible thing to talk about rather than just, 'We're going to be okay.' It's more about, 'Look at this thing that we can go back and revisit.'"

Also in the interview, the proud dad shares how his daughters' imaginary friends inspired characters in his movie.

<p>Some Good News/Youtube</p> John Krasinski's web series 'Some Good News'

Some Good News/Youtube

John Krasinski's web series 'Some Good News'

For more on John Krasinski, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

“The pink alligator Ally, that is Violet’s imaginary friend,” Krasinski says of the character voiced by Maya Rudolph. “The pink alligator lives under Violet’s bed. I said, ‘Is that scary to you?’ And she said, ‘No, that’s why she’s there, to eat all the bad guys when they come in.’ And I said, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ ”

“Hazel’s a very empathetic soul, and we were making s’mores one night, and her marshmallow burst into flames as they tend to do, and she was so destroyed that she had hurt some sort of creature,” continues Krasinski. “And I said, ‘Oh, no, no, that’s just his thing. He lights on fire and then he goes out and then he lights on fire and then he goes out.’ And she loved that idea, and so that became her imaginary friend.”

The film has already gotten "two thumbs up" from his kids, according to Krasinski when he spoke with Extra at the film's premiere.

Though his girls were ultimately fans, Krasinski said that there was added pressure "because I made it for them, completely and entirely about their magical world, so this is one I can't screw up."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.