The New Mutants from Fox’s series of X-Men flicks is not going to be your typical superhero story. And to make that clear, the director is pointing to Jack Nicholson films as his chief sources of inspiration.
Loosely based on a comic series of the same name, The New Mutants will star lesser-known characters from the X-Men franchise, including the rare non-American superheroes. The plot has our six protagonists (Magik, Wolfsbane, Cannonball, Sunspot, Mirage and Cecilia Reyes) trapped in a secret facility after their powers emerge, trying desperately to save themselves while dealing with issues from their pasts.
In the newest issue of Empire Magazine, which is running a special about the film, director Josh Boone says that it will be “the hardest PG-13 ever made,” with lots of horror elements and emotional turmoil for its characters.
“Fox wanted something very far from a typical X-Men movie. But I can’t believe what they let us do,” he said. “We pitched The Shining meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s very… out there.”
Aside from both films starring Jack Nicholson, both deal with forms of mental illness, albeit in different ways—The Shining is about an alcoholic who falls off the wagon while being controlled by evil spirits, while One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest has a sane man imprisoned in an insane asylum run by a cruel nurse. Taken together, it seems to imply that our mutant protagonists will be facing their own demons at least as much as they have to face the film’s main antagonist, said to be the psychically corrupting entity Demon Bear.
This is a strategy that has worked well for Fox as of late. While older X-Men films have been hit or miss superhero fare, more recent entries like Logan and Deadpool have been genre mashups with more violence and adult situations, which managed to stand out among the many other superhero flicks that come out each year. Fox is no doubt hoping that a dip into psychological horror will do well for The New Mutants as well.
While originally planned for release in a few months, The New Mutants is now expected to be out February 22, 2019.