With theaters in certain parts of the country reopening tonight, moviegoers undeterred by the COVID-19 outbreak will finally get to see The New Mutants, the X-Men offshoot plagued by a series of delays over the last two years. Director Josh Boone has previously blamed 20th Century Fox’s merger with Disney for the long wait. But as it turns out, things are a bit more complicated than that. Vulture has published a lengthy new feature detailing the film’s bumpy road to release that’s about to come to a precarious end in the midst of a global pandemic.
The New Mutants‘ journey from concept to screen began simply enough. Boone and co-writer Knate Lee pitched Fox on a film that combined a “teen-horror flick with a John Hughes sensibility.” It would also come with a cheaper price tag than any other X-Men movie, so the studio greenlit the project. However, it wasn’t long before Fox began to take issue with certain aspects of the pair’s script. One draft actually included Storm as the young mutants’ “sadistic jailer” at the mysterious facility holding them captive. But this idea was ultimately jettisoned because Storm was a hero in prior X-Men installments. Plus, there was the matter of Boone and Lee’s “crude humor.”
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“Punk-rock-y, rebellious teens are already baked into the X-Men,” said one source close to the film. “But here, one of the characters was a misogynist and graffiti-ing his penis on stuff. There were head scratchers. Like, That’s not going to work.”
Over the course of The New Mutants‘ pre-production stage, Fox began enlisting other writers to revise the screenplay, including Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes (The Conjuring), Joshua Zetumer (2014’s RoboCop), and Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). By the time principal photography wrapped in 2017, the studio was starting to doubt The New Mutants’ viability. In fact, the studio reportedly even discussed “throwing the entire movie out to ‘start over’” from scratch. Because the budget was so small, this wasn’t considered a huge deal. One “high-ranking Fox executive” allegedly claimed, “You could throw the movie out, start over, and it would still be the least expensive X-Men movie so far.”
The New Mutants opens in wide release tomorrow, August 28.
What do you make of this latest report about The New Mutants’ production? Let us know in the comment section below!
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