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Why The New Mutants Is Both A Teen Movie And A Comic Book Movie

In director Josh Boone's The New Mutants, the titular group is comprised of five teenagers with superpowers who find themselves in nightmarish digs — being held captive in a psychiatric hospital against their will. That scenario would be rough at any age, but everyone knows the teenage years are full of unique complexities. In addition to seeing this group understand and harness their respective powers, the movie incorporates the emotions — both good and bad — that are prevalent at that age. Basically, The New Mutants is as much a teen movie as it is a comic book movie.

At a recent press conference for The New Mutants, which Looper attended, Boone and the cast reflected on how it felt to be back in the teen years while making the film.

"Any opportunity to go back to teenage-dom is not necessarily the most fun experience," said Anya Taylor-Joy, who portrays Illyana Rasputin, aka Magik. "You learn a lot about yourself afterward. 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. So, to make it a bit more cinematic, we added powers."

She acknowledged that having media to connect to at that age can be beneficial: "I do think any teenager that's going through growing pains and trying to understand where to fit in — no longer a child but trying to figure out this weird adult world — they'll definitely connect with it."

The New Mutants director Josh Boone says this one's for the outsiders

Writer-director Boone has been open about some of the '80s teen movies — like The Breakfast Club – that helped inform his creation of The New Mutants. In that classic comedy, five different students are forced to attend Saturday detention together. Most of them are from different social scenes, ones that don't generally mix. However, as the day goes on, they let their guard down, sharing their deepest thoughts. Boone agreed with Taylor-Joy's take, elaborating on some of the perils of the teenage landscape.

"I would say it was really made for teenagers who are outsiders, people who feel out of place, and those who are going through a tough time in general," he shared. "I always say, 'I make couch movies,' which are like when I was a teenager and was depressed, I'd have certain movies I'd pop on and lay on the couch. It made me feel better."

Henry Zaga — who plays Roberto da Costa, aka Sunspot, in the movie — shared his own growing pains in making The New Mutants

"With the love we have for these characters, I was feeling like I had to live up to a role. I should have used that fear, that insecurity for Roberto, because he's trying to live up to a façade — pretending to be a confident 17-year-old who is actually just craving love and is really sensitive," the actor shared. "That's hard for him to face because it causes so much pain. I think we can all relate to that."

The New Mutants is playing in select theaters now.