Exclusive: The New Mutants director sets the record straight on reshoot rumblings
A lot has been said about The New Mutants, director Josh Boone’s X-Men spin-off, since it began filming in 2017. The movie, described as a “rubber reality” YA horror film, was once planned for a release in April 2018 back in the franchise’s heyday but was delayed multiple times when Disney purchased 21st Century Fox — and, therefore, the X-Men. Along the way, reports about the movie planning for reshoots became routine. Even veteran franchise producer Simon Kinberg, who’s now working on a sci-fi film for Netflix, mentioned them last year in an interview. But, for all this talk, Boone confirms they never happened.
“Everybody said we did reshoots! We’ve never done reshoots,” he tells EW over the phone in late February. “And I’ll tell you this: if there hadn’t been a merger, I’m sure we would’ve done reshoots the same way every movie does pickups. We didn’t even do that because by the time the merger was done and everything was settled, everybody’s older.”
By “everybody,” he means the cast. In August 2017, Game of Thrones alum Maisie Williams (Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane), The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy (Illyana Rasputin/Magik), Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton (Sam Guthrie/Cannonball), Looking For Alaska‘s Henry Zaga (Roberto “Bobby” da Costa/Sunspot), and Another Life‘s Blu Hunt (Danielle Moonstar/Mirage) were still filming The New Mutants just outside of Boston. At the time, Boone described the concept to EW — about five teen mutants held at a secret facility against their will who face terrifying apparitions — as “Stephen King meets John Hughes.” Williams was 20 at the time. Now, she's 22.
By December 2017, just a couple months later, word broke that Disney would be purchasing Fox properties for more than $52 billion. And with Disney’s focus remaining on its ever-expanding Avengers franchise, The New Mutants was delayed. It was around this time that reports suggested the film would undergo reshoots to “make it scarier,” as Williams herself later said in a March 2019 interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
Speaking with EW now, Williams says, “The movie is exactly the movie we set out to make. I was nervous when they were talking about reshooting or re-editing that it was gonna be very different, but honestly, it’s exactly what we set out to do.” It was a sometimes aggravating situation with the only information she heard about the film coming from news headlines. “I would be in press for something else and then [reporters would] ask me about [The New Mutants] and the last thing I heard was, ‘Nothing until we know something.’”
“We had heard nothing because of the merger,” Boone adds. “It was radio silence for about a year where we had no new information at all.” During this period, the filmmaker finally found the time — and the green light — to make his long-awaited series adaptation of King’s The Stand for CBS All Access, news for which came out in January 2019. It wasn’t until after that Disney asked Boone t0 come back and finish editing The New Mutants, which he was more than happy to do. “When they called me right before I went to go make The Stand and said, ‘Would you come finish the movie?’ I said, ‘I would f—in’ love to come finish the movie!’”
When Boone walked away after those initial delays, the visual effects were still unfinished, which is why that original trailer, released in October 2017, didn't reveal anything from the second half of the movie. "In the editing, we were probably 75 percent done," Boone explains. "We came back and finished it up. It took a couple months, and it was nice to be able to come back. Knate [Lee], my co-writer, and I, we hadn’t seen it in a year. We did a bunch of things here and there that we hadn’t thought about or noticed a year before.”
That also included finishing up the visuals for Illyana’s sorceress abilities, notably her signature sword that materializes out of her arm, as well as Lockheed, the character’s fan-favorite purple dragon companion in the comic books. “You see a little bit of him there," Boone says of the latest trailer. "I wouldn't say too much more, but I was pleased with how we had him in the world and had him as part of Illyana’s story."
When the movie was finally finished, the filmmaker and his main cast — including Alice Braga as the mysterious head of the facility, Dr. Cecilia Reyes — reunited in New York City for the first official screening. These were the first people Boone wanted to watch the film.
“It’s very... thriller,” Williams describes. “I think the nature of a bunch of teenagers being trapped at a facility, all with individual powers which they don’t know how to use yet or even summon, that lends itself really well to suspense and scary cuts. It’s all done in a very honest way and it really does come from the characters and the situations that they’re in. It’s not a happy, upbeat superhero comedy film. It’s definitely very dark.”
The New Mutants will now open in theaters on April 3.