The New Mutants (film)
|The New Mutants|
|Directed by||Josh Boone|
|Edited by||Robb Sullivan|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
The New Mutants is an upcoming American horror film in the superhero genre, based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was initially conceived of as the first in a trilogy of mutant horror films, and is intended to be the thirteenth installment in the X-Men film series. The film is directed by Josh Boone from a screenplay by himself and Knate Lee, and stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Henry Zaga, Blu Hunt, and Alice Braga. In The New Mutants, a group of young mutants held in a secret facility fight to save themselves.
Boone and Lee first began work on the film after Boone completed The Fault in Our Stars, the pair having been fans of the New Mutants growing up together. They pitched a potential film trilogy to X-Men producer Simon Kinberg, and in May 2015 were officially signed on to the film. Taylor-Joy and Williams were rumored to be cast in March 2016, and were confirmed over a year later when the rest of the cast began to fill out. Filming took place in Boston from July to September 2017, primarily at Medfield State Hospital, with an April 2018 release in mind. This was then delayed for over a year, allowing for reshoots to make the film more frightening.
The New Mutants is scheduled to be released on August 2, 2019.
- Anya Taylor-Joy as Illyana Rasputin / Magik: a Russian mutant with sorcery powers, who "uses teleportation discs to travel". She is the sister of Colossus, a member of the X-Men seen in previous films in the series.
- Maisie Williams as Rahne Sinclair / Wolfsbane: a Scottish mutant "struggling to reconcile her religious beliefs with her power to turn into a wolf".
- Charlie Heaton as Sam Guthrie / Cannonball: a Kentuckian mutant "who can propel himself into the air and is invulnerable while doing so".
- Henry Zaga as Roberto da Costa / Sunspot: a Brazilian mutant "with the ability to manipulate solar energy".
- Blu Hunt as Danielle Moonstar / Mirage: a Native American mutant "who has the power to create illusions drawn from the fears and desires of a person's mind".
- Alice Braga as Cecilia Reyes: a mentor to the group, and a medical doctor "who has the ability to generate a protective bio-field around herself".
After completing work on the 2014 film The Fault in Our Stars for 20th Century Fox, director Josh Boone created a comic book with his childhood best friend Knate Lee using panels from Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz's New Mutants comics to illustrate what a potential film trilogy adapting those comics would be like. The pair had been fans of the characters growing up, with Boone calling their stories "really dark, interesting, and different from the typical X-Men stories that we had read". They took the comic to Simon Kinberg, one of the producers of the X-Men film series, who "really liked it". In May 2015, Fox finalized a deal to have Boone direct The New Mutants, from a script by himself and Lee, with Kinberg and Lauren Shuler Donner producing. The film would be a standalone spinoff film, expanding the universe of the X-Men films. While working on the first draft of the script, Boone sent it and his ideas for the film to Sienkiewicz, who thought Boone "had it figured out" but was also not just copying the comics.
Updating the status of the film in March 2016, Kinberg said that Boone and Lee were working on the script, and that, like Deadpool, the film would be different from the core X-Men films, "maybe not as different as Deadpool, but it has its own unique, original voice to it". Kinberg said that the film would have a young adult "vibe", and that there was potential for characters seen in previous films to appear, namely Warpath, Sunspot, and Professor X, who all have ties to the New Mutants in the comics. Also at that time, it was reported that Maisie Williams and Anya Taylor-Joy were being looked at to star in the film as Rahne Sinclair / Wolfsbane and Illyana Rasputin / Magik, respectively. The rest of the title team was expected to consist of the characters Sam Guthrie / Cannonball, Roberto da Costa / Sunspot, and Danielle Moonstar / Mirage. Sunspot previously appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past, portrayed by Adan Canto, who was not confirmed to be returning for the new film. James McAvoy, who portrayed Professor X in several previous X-Men films, was said to have a significant role in this one, alongside Alexandra Shipp, who was expected to reprise her role of Storm from X-Men: Apocalypse.
In May 2016, Kinberg confirmed that the script included Professor X, and stated his hope for filming to start at the beginning of 2017. By that August, the titular team's roster had expanded to include the character Warlock, while Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber—who worked with Boone writing The Fault in Our Stars—were working on a new draft of the script while Boone and Lee were busy on another project. In November, the report of Williams and Taylor-Joy's casting was believed to be accurate, and Nat Wolff was being looked at for the role of Cannonball after working with Boone on The Fault in Our Stars. The character Demon Bear was set as the film's main antagonist, with the project aiming for more of a "'Stephen King meets John Hughes'-style horror movie". Boone soon noted that the Demon Bear was a very personal villain for him as a child, as he "was raised by very religious parents. They were Evangelical Southern Baptists and they believed in the rapture; they believed the devil was real; they believed in demons."
The film had entered pre-production in Boston, Massachusetts by April 2017, in preparation for filming to begin in that city. Location scouting had been taking place, including at Medfield State Hospital, which was previously used as a filming location for Shutter Island. Fox scheduled New Mutants for an April 13, 2018 release. Several weeks later, the studio officially announced the casting of Taylor-Joy and Williams, and was "making serious efforts to find ethnically appropriate actors" for the rest of the cast, widely searching for South American and Native American actors to respectively play Sunspot and Moonstar. By then, McAvoy was no longer slated to appear in the film; Wolff was no longer in the running to portray Cannonball; and Karen Rosenfelt was producing alongside Kinberg, who ultimately spent much of production focused on making Dark Phoenix.
At the end of May, Henry Zaga was expected to be cast as Sunspot, and Rosario Dawson—who also portrays the Marvel character Claire Temple across the various Marvel Netflix television series—was in talks to join the film as Cecilia Reyes, a mentor to the title group. It was explained that McAvoy was no longer involved due to Professor X being written out of the script with further drafts, and Shipp's Storm had likewise been written out of the film. Additionally, Boone confirmed that the film would be "a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe. There are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We're trying to do something very, very different." He was particularly influenced by Bill Sienkiewicz' time as artist on the New Mutants comic, which he called "a darker and more surreal and impressionistic X-Men series than we'd ever seen before." Boone had previously stated that he does not like horror films, except for "classic ones" such as The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby, and The Shining, but was looking to "pioneer and champion doing prestige versions of horror films" based on his love for horror novels such as King's works. At the end of the month, Charlie Heaton was in talks to portray Cannonball.
Zaga, Dawson, and Heaton were confirmed to have been cast at the start of June, and newcomer Blu Hunt was cast as Moonstar after an extensive and challenging international search that prioritized "ethnic authenticity". The character was believed to be central to the Demon Bear storyline that the film focuses on. At the end of that month, Dawson exited the film, and Alice Braga was cast as Reyes in her place. The final shooting script for the film included contributions from Josh Zetumer, Chad and Carey Hayes, and Seth Grahame-Smith, along with a six-person "writer's room" that Fox hired to generate ideas for the film and also "tear apart the script and put it back together". Throughout the development process on the film, the script evolved from the "full horror" film that Boone and Lee initially wanted to make, and which Fox was resistant to, to a compromise version without "excessive blood and scares" and more "young adult"-focused. Boone created storyboards with artist Ashley R. Guillory to plan out all of the shots before filming.
Principal photography began on July 10, 2017, in Boston, under the working title Growing Pains. Peter Deming served as cinematographer for the film. The majority of the film was shot on location at Medfield State Hospital, where Boone said "every single person on my crew ... had weird things happen to them while they were there." Boone wanted to create "as many of the effects practically as we could. It has some big visual effect stuff as well, but we really tried to do everything we could possibly do real so it would feel a little bit more like" the horror movies that he grew up with. For instance, to create the effect of figures pushing through the walls of a room, Boone used the technique originated by Wes Craven of having real actors pushing on sheets of spandex. 10 percent of the film was shot using green screen. Filming ended on September 16, 2017. The film's principal photography was described as "stressful" for Boone, who felt "a bit neutered" during the process due to having to tone down the film from his original "full horror" ideas.
After filming wrapped on The New Mutants, Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider compared the setting of the film to a "Breakfast Club detention / Cuckoo's Nest institutional setting" and described the genre of the film as "a haunted-house movie with a bunch of hormonal teenagers. We haven't seen a superhero movie whose genre is more like The Shining than 'we're teenagers let's save the world.'" Boone delivered a cut of the film to Fox that he was happy with, and it tested as well as initial screenings of Deadpool did with audiences. Three days of additional photography were planned to complete the "YA movie" that Boone, Lee, and Fox had eventually agreed to make. However, following the successful release of the film It, the studio cut the first trailer for The New Mutants to focus on the "scary elements from the film, essentially selling it as a straight-up horror movie". This proved a success, and Fox decided to make the film more like Boone's original vision rather than completing the version that they had been making during production.
Boone said, in October 2017, that he had been influenced by A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and confirmed that the film is set in the modern day. He clarified that Warlock was not in the film—the character was ultimately deemed to be too expensive to portray on the film's budget—but could appear in a sequel, and that the Demon Bear would not be the main antagonist of the film, just that it was "very much inspired" by the run of the New Mutants comics in which Demon Bear was featured as the main villain. In January 2018, the film's release date was pushed back to February 22, 2019, which allowed it to avoid Deadpool 2, which also had its release changed at that time to a date that would have had both films in theaters at the same time in certain markets, while also allowing time for the reshoots required to make the film more frightening. When asked about this delay the next month, Williams stated that there had been concerns during filming regarding the short turnaround from the end of photography to the previously set release date, especially with the amount of visual effects still needed to finish the film, and so the delay was "for the better". The additional photography was soon set for mid-2018, and was expected to include the addition of several new characters to the film who would be present throughout rather than just added cameo appearances.
Fox again delayed the film's release in March 2018, moving it away from the new February 2019 release date for Dark Phoenix to August 2, 2019; the reshoots required for the film were believed to be more extensive than previously considered, with the studio now wanting at least half of the film to be reshot. The studio's focus was on making the film as distinct from the other entries in the series as Deadpool and Logan, while avoiding the film becoming a "flop" like Fantastic Four which went through similar production issues—industry insiders believed The New Mutants would not end up the same way due to Fox not blaming the issues on Boone as the studio did with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank, and also because the studio was allowing Boone to write and direct the reshoots in order to complete his original vision. In addition to the reshoots changing the tone of the film, they were also set to adjust an antagonist subplot in the film: The New Mutants was originally going to feature the Essex Corporation, which was first teased at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse, leading to a post-credits scene featuring the surprise reveal of Jon Hamm as the villain Mister Sinister. However, Fox decided against doing this following the completion of principal photography on the film, and so the reshoots would include a new post-credits scene introducing Antonio Banderas as a different villain.
Reshoots for the film had begun by the end of September 2018, with Kinberg confirming that they were mostly focused on making the film more frightening after the positive response to the horror-inspired trailer. He added that "audiences really embraced the notion of a superhero movie or a comic book movie that was, in its core, a horror film".
Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis were confirmed in December 2017 to be composing the score for the film, having worked with Boone on his previous films. In May 2018, Marilyn Manson announced that his cover of the song "Cry Little Sister"—originally written for the film The Lost Boys (1987) by Gerard McMahon—which Manson debuted during his Heaven Upside Down tour, had been recorded specifically for the New Mutants soundtrack.
The first trailer for the film was released in October 2017, on Friday the 13th, with a horror focus inspired by the recent success of the film It. Sara Vilkomerson of Entertainment Weekly felt that trailer delivered on Boone's promise of a different type of X-Men film, and was "creepy". Vilkomerson also noted the trailer's use of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall"; the title treatment for the film introduced in the trailer evokes the treatment used for that song. Alex McLevy, writing for The A.V. Club, also felt that Boone had delivered on his promise of a "straight-up horror film", and said, "Congrats to this creative team for trying something different with the superhero genre." Writing for /Film, Hoai-Tran Bui said the film looked like a bottle episode for the X-Men franchise, and noted that telling a standalone story led to success for Deadpool. Bui also compared the trailer's tone to Stranger Things, and Braga's performance as Reyes to Nurse Ratched. Boone, Lee, Braga, Zaga, and Sienkiewicz promoted the film at a 2017 Comic Con Experience panel.
Boone and Lee originally pitched the film to Kinberg as the first in a trilogy. In October 2017, Boone said that the characters Warlock and Karma would appear in the sequels, which he wanted to be "their own distinct kind of horror movies. [The first film] is certainly the 'rubber-reality' supernatural horror movie. The next one will be a completely different kind of horror movie. Our take was just go examine the horror genre through comic book movies and make each one its own distinct sort of horror film. Drawing from the big events that we love in the comics." He added that connections to the wider X-Men universe could be explored more in future films. Boone and Lee revealed in December that they were interested in filming the first sequel in Brazil, and that Sunspot's father Emmanuel da Costa would play a role in the franchise.
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