Following the new trend of virtual press junkets for upcoming films in the time of COVID-19, the cast and director of “The New Mutants” recently gathered together to discuss the upcoming film.
The film from 20th Century Studios, which debuts in theaters on Aug. 28, is an original horror-thriller set in a hospital where a group of young mutants are being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange things begin to happen, both their new abilities and their friendships will be tested as they try to make it out alive.
The panel was moderated by Ash Crossan, producer and correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” who is no stranger to these fandom-fueled releases and events.
Joining her were members of the cast, including Maisie Williams (Rahne Sinclair), Anya Taylor-Joy (Illyana Rasputin), Charlie Heaton (Sam Guthrie), Alice Braga (Dr. Reyes), Blu Hunt (Dani Moonstar), and Henry Zaga (Roberto da Costa), as well as director Josh Boone.
“The New Mutants” had undergone a lengthy journey to the silver screen, including many release date changes, the Disney-Fox merger, and a global pandemic – and yet the entire cast was thrilled that the fans still held excitement for the film’s release.
“It’s so wonderful, I think. You know, there was a lot of uncertainty with this film and when it was going to get released,” said Williams. “To know that there was an audience that was still willing to wait as long as it took, and even through this pandemic [they] have been so supportive and it’s just been really exciting. I can’t wait for people to finally see it.”
The cast also were quick to make the connection between the current state of the world and the premise of their film, which involves a group of people trapped in somewhere they can’t get out – while those of us in the real world have spent months on end quarantining.
“I think people will kind of connect more with the characters’ feelings than ever,” said Braga.
“I hadn’t thought about it that way before, but it kind of makes perfect sense now,” agreed Taylor-Joy. “I feel like the movie’s supposed to come out now. I think people will [see it in a] very different way.”
When asked about how their characters dealt with not only their burgeoning abilities, but also the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, Taylor-Joy had particularly powerful thoughts to share.
“Any opportunity to go back to teenagerdom is not necessarily the most fun experience, but you definitely learn a lot about yourself afterwards. It’s interesting because I think we all came into this knowing that whilst we were making a superhero movie, we weren’t really making a superhero movie. We were making a film about people who were having a tough time understanding themselves and figuring out their place in the world. And so, to make it a bit more cinematic, we added powers. But I do think […] any teenager, that’s going through, you know, the growing pains. Trying to understand where you fit in, you’re no longer a child, but like, what is this weird adult world. I think they’ll definitely connect with it. And then, we have powers, which is really cool.”
Boone immediately agreed, and shared a unique perspective that intentionally challenges your typical superhero movie:
“It was really made for teenagers who are outsiders, people who feel out of place, and who are going through a tough time in general. I sort of always say, I make couch movies, which are like, when I was a teenager and I was really depressed, I’d have a certain movie I’d pop on and go lay on the couch. It made me feel better. So, it’s like these kind of movies are those kind of movies where, hopefully, they’ll be your friend.”
Keeping in with the teenage theme, Heaton shared a hilarious and slightly dangerous experience that the cast had together while enjoying some downtime from shooting.
“I had just learned to drive. I literally had just got my license. And I am British. I’d never driven at night before, you know. You do all your lessons in the day. We were driving back, I had decided to take everyone to the cinema and try out my driving. In fact, I was driving at night […] and the lights in the car aren’t on. I was like, ‘I can’t see anything.’”
Taylor-Joy chimed in, bringing about the most ironic part of the entire adventure.
“Did I make up the fact that we went to see ‘Baby Driver’ on the day that he drove us? We went to see a race movie, and then Charlie couldn’t switch on the lights of his car.”
Even though “The New Mutants” was shot three years prior to its release, it is still clear just how well this cast had gotten along and learned about each other while experiencing what Joy called “a high school slash college experience.”
At the end of the day, this might be a superhero movie on the surface, but at its core, it’s really a film about growing up… just with demon bears and super powers.
“The New Mutants” releases in theaters on Aug. 28. You can watch the virtual press junket, as well as a teaser for the film, below: