Josh Boone is a filmmaker who understands the comic book genre is not a static environment. With Marvel and DC continuing to produce the big blockbuster that dominates the box office, there is a niche where studios can interchange, overlap and experiment to keep it fresh for themselves and more importantly - the audience.
Talking to IGN about The New Mutants, a title that just dropped it's official trailer this week, Boone recalled how he pitched the feature to 20th Century Fox. While it looks to be a significant shift in tone and style, the director outlined that this movie was just the beginning as he has a whole trilogy lined up.
An 80s Horror Trip Inspired By The Classics
With a young cast and smaller budget than most Marvel productions are accustomed to for the big screen, Boone had the confidence to take not one, not two but three installments to the studio table. This is how he tells the story.
"We brought it to Fox as a trilogy of films, really all based on that long run by Sienkiewicz, and kind of incorporates some stuff from later issues in the '80s. These are all going to be horror movies, and they're all be their own distinct kind of horror movies. This 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."
Taking themes and stories from that Sienkiewicz run, Boone would also seek inspiration from horror classics.
"Our whole pitch for this series was based on Bill Sienkiewicz run with Chris Claremont (The New Mutants vol. 1 #18-31, 35-38), so it's very much when New Mutants became dark and surreal and more horror driven. We were incredibly inspired by the Demon Bear story which is probably the best, well-known New Mutants story. We also drew on movies like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Stephen King stuff, and even Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors."
Truth Stranger Than Fiction For Mutant Mystery
To give a horror picture a real edge, filmmakers tend to shy away from CGI wherever possible. With a filmmaker like James Wan using that practice to success via The Conjuring franchise, Boone wants the experience to be visceral and genuine.
"90% of this movie was shot on real locations," he says. "We did 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 those movies we liked and were inspired by. 10% of the movie was green screen and nothing else really."
Such was the horror of the setting, it even had cast and crewing on edge. So much so that Boone wanted to document the unnerving feeling from a number of parties.
"We shot on in a 150 year-old mental hospital that'd been closed for 50 years. Literally every single person on my crew – all my grips – all those people had weird things happen to them while they were there. I even told the behind-the-scenes crew to go interview everyone who had weird stuff happen to them for an extra on the Blu-ray."
We certainly look forward to that! The New Mutants will premiere April 13, 2018.