INTERVIEW: The New Mutants

At an early morning press conference, the stars and writer/director of The New Mutants, gathered on Zoom for a virtual chat about the upcoming theatrical feature. That’s right, writer/director Joshua Boone confirmed that on August 28th The New Mutants will be released in theaters that are open. He said that as more theaters resume screenings, The New Mutants will continue to be available, before eventually coming to VOD.

Since the movie was shot nearly 3 years ago, it’s no surprise that there are rumors regarding reshoots. Boone joked that they reshot the entire thing 3-4 times. Ultimately, he confirmed that there were actually no reshoots, although they were supposed to do a few reshoots and pick-ups (which is expected of any large budget studio film), but due to the Disney/Fox merger, “when it was done, it was done. [We] never went back and did reshoots. We were always using the same footage and the same material from the start of editing and all the way to the end of it.”

Pointing out that the film is about a group of people stuck inside (which feels incredibly timely to the current climate of many viewers), Alice Braga (Dr. Reyes) was quick to joke that audiences are going to “connect more with the characters’ feeling than ever.” The cast spoke at length about the relatability of this story, regardless of it being about mutants with super powers. They mentioned that these characters are going through the same issues any teen goes through, growing pains and self-exploration. Braga made a point to comment on how the x-men have always been used as a metaphor for the marginalized and their fight for acceptance.

Based on the comics, The New Mutants was gifted with a writer/director who was a true fan of the source material. “We had the perfect director for the job,” says Anya Taylor-Joy (Illyana Rasputin), explaining how Boone was able to answer any questions the actors had about their characters and backstories. “We used everyone’s original backstories in the comics” says Boone, adding, “the comic only goes so far.” But he wasn’t the actors’ only source. Henry Zaga, who plays Roberto da Costa (aka Sunspot), also had a lot of comics on hand, for research purposes. The cast enjoyed borrowing from his collection to do some homework, or just unwind.

Speaking of unwinding, although billed as a horror film, the cast spent a lot of time on set dancing and singing. Like their characters, the actors were stuck together while filming on location at an abandoned medical facility, allowing them to organically bond. This was especially important for the characters of Rahne Sinclair (aka Wolfsbane) and Dani Moonstar (aka Psych, Mirage), played by Maisie Williams and Blu Hunt, respectively. According to Williams, the actors met for a screen-test two or three months before filming began, “I’ve done screen-test before, but never where I had to kiss a stranger.” Hunt added, about the experience, “I was nervous… I think I knew I got the part when we kissed. I couldn’t believe I was there when it was happening.” Their relationship is at the heart of this film, which Boone says is “more character driven” than most movies in this genre.

The New Mutants is hitting theaters that are open on August 28th.

— Yael Tygiel

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