It’s a strange time for movies–production is starting up (and then, just as quickly, shutting back down), major releases are hitting theaters in some countries and not others, drive-ins are making a comeback and would-be blockbusters are getting sent directly to digital streaming services. With how up-in-the-air many fans are feeling, it would certainly follow that the creatives behind these movies are feeling the same–but some are doing their best to find the silver linings.
In the case of New Mutants, the last entry in Fox’s now-defunct X-Men franchise–or the first of the post-Fox-buyout era, depending on your perspective–director Josh Boone actually thinks the movie’s strangely timed release is something of a blessing. Going straight-to-digital was not something that was even on the table, Boone assured. “We’d never had a conversation about it […] it was always really designed, especially the last act of the movie, to be on big IMAX screens because of scares and everything else. I would always suggest that anybody try to see it in the movie theater. I see these news articles where like 800 people are in a party in LA at a house without masks on–it’s like, how about instead you put a mask on and go to the movies?”
What’s more, the themes of the movie lend themselves to this particular era, Boone explained. “We have a movie coming out now about kids who are quarantined and can’t get out of a hospital–[they can’t get out] like we can’t. It seems like the universe needed us to wait a little bit longer for the movie to come out, so it could be now.”
Blu Hunt, who plays Dani Moonstar, echoes the excitement. “I’m excited for people to see how it really cuts together. You guys have seen so many clips, and you know so many little things and now at this point interested in the movie know how the comic goes. I feel like seeing it all together and streamlined will be a surprise. I’m excited for people to get that kind of–relief is one word.”
Henry Zaga, who plays Roberto De Costa, is more hopeful to see fans’ reaction to the big bad–the Demon Bear, which has been teased in trailers and comes directly from the source material–but more than that, he’s excited for fans to see the movie’s heart. “I think a lot of people are expecting it to be horror and it is–there are a lot of scary elements to it,” the actor said. “You can’t tell these kids stories without scaring the crap out of them, but it also has so much heart. They’re really young and they’re really trying their best and you really feel it.”
Naturally, being young and stuck in a hospital with only a small handful of peers to keep you company lends itself to some pretty interesting group dynamics. Zaga highlighted the unlikely friendship between Roberto and Sam (Charlie Heaton), as two people from opposite worlds finding common ground. “They’re the most unlikely of best friends. You know, they couldn’t be more different but ultimately they see each other for who they really are on. Sam knows that behind all the jokes and the bullying Roberto is a lovely guy who is really struggling with his past. Meanwhile, Sam is actually trying to get better. He’s really going by the program.”
Meanwhile, Hunt’s character Dani Moonstar approaches the group from a totally different perspective. “Dani’s very curious about everyone. She really sees the way that, like, Sam treats himself and she’s really not okay with it. I think Dani’s coping mechanism is to focus on everyone else’s issues, instead of focusing on her own, as a way to not face herself.”
This stirs up some contention with some other members of the group–specifically Illyana Rasputin (Ana Taylor Joy), who Hunt says “views Dani like a threat.” Meanwhile, Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams) quickly sparks up a romance with her. “I think because my life felt so chaotic when [we were] making the movie,” Hunt elaborated, “making the movie felt very chaotic for me, there was a lot of pressure–so the scenes that I got to do with Maisie, those scenes were the most relaxed days.”
In fact, Dani and Rahne’s relationship is something Blu hopes people are excited to see. “I know when I was a girl and I was in high school, I would have loved seeing them together. I just think people are really gonna like them.”
New Mutants is playing in select theaters now.
Disclosure: ViacomCBS is GameSpot’s parent company
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