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The Movies That Really Inspired The New Mutants - Exclusive

Josh Boone is having a moment right now, as his latest film, The New Mutants, is finally being unleashed on the world after multiple debut date changes. A teen drama isn't unfamiliar territory for Boone — he directed The Fault in Our Stars back in 2014, and that movie was loaded with emotional moments as it told the story of two teen cancer patients that fall in love — but The New Mutants is something different.

In the new comic book horror film, the final installment of the X-Men series as produced by 20th Century Fox (now 20th Century Studios after Disney acquired the company), a group of young mutants are being held in a secret, creepy facility against their will. While they're fighting for their lives, the crew fully realize their supernatural abilities.

For Boone, who co-wrote and directed The New Mutants, it was imperative to showcase each character's regular teenage side as much as it was to spotlight their superpowers. To do so, he turned to some favorite films from his youth for inspiration.

"I'd say the best sort of merging would be sort of Breakfast Club meets A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. It's got a lot of emotional stuff and character stuff like my previous movies do, but with a new kind of added level to it, which is sort of weird supernatural stuff and superhero stuff," said Boone in an exclusive conversation with Looper

He continued, "We were sort of inspired by movies that weren't superhero movies. We were really looking at horror movies and at One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Girl Interrupted and institutional dramas. So it was less that we were trying to separate ourselves and more that the kind of movie we were making [is] based on this very specific comic. This arc in this comic book series, which was like three issues in sort of the artist run, sort of changed the way comics were drawn at the time, and they were so evocative and moody and scary and kind of different. We just wanted to capture some of that flavor in a comic book movie, which we didn't feel like had been done yet."

For The New Mutants director Josh Boone, looks aren't everything

With almost all movies, there's a focus on aesthetics that helps make characters distinct and unique. That's especially true in superhero movies, as the costumes can often reflect or further highlight a character's otherworldly capabilities. It was essential to Boone that The New Mutants' visuals never overshadowed the depth of each member of the mutant team.

"We tried to make something a little different from the average costume movie, just because most of them star adults," he said. "We really wanted a teen cast to represent a market for movies that weren't being made for teenagers — and to represent the kind of people who feel like outsiders, as well as different demographics that aren't represented usually."

Boone then shared that with The New Mutants, he hopes he can give teen moviegoers an experience similar to the ones that excited him at that age.

"They made a lot of movies for people when I was young. They were a driving force, if not the driving force at the box office," the writer-director said. "It's interesting to me how now that there are just superhero movies, which I love all those as well, there's not a real market for teen movies in theaters. [...] Smuggling one in under the guise of a superhero movie seemed like a fun way to get away with it and do kind of a throwback to the movies that I loved when I was young."

The New Mutants is out in select theaters and on video-on-demand platforms now.