Despite a two year delay from its initial release date due to planned reshoots (which never happened), followed by Disney’s acquisition of Fox, New Mutants is finally headed to theaters this April. Instead of being the start of a new trilogy and having a big impact on the future of the X-Men franchise, New Mutants will instead be the last movie in the defunct Fox X-Men franchise before the MCU incorporates presumably new versions of the characters.
Back during the film’s production in August 2017, Screen Rant visited the New Mutants set and sat down with Cecilia Reyes actor Alice Braga to talk about her role in the film.
To start can you just tell us about your initial interpretation of Dr. Cecilia Reyes and what dare you to the character
What drew me to the character? Well, I’m a big fan of X-Men, so as soon as the phone line goes I’m super excited about it because I always loved this comic world, especially X-Men because I think it’s a type of heroes that they are so truthful and so real in the sense that they’re not unbeatable. They are kind of broken characters. Like, if you see Logan, for example, or any other X-Men characters, they have, like brokenness in their hearts and they are still, like trying to find their place in the world, and X-Men talks a lot about shame and about rejection and how to overcome that and I always loved that because I always connected with that and I think meanwhile if we go through moments and stages that we go through that so I always loved the film’s and then when I got to know Josh as a director and I really loved his work and I think he’s a wonderful director especially for actors. And just the chance to kind of combine those two worlds of, like, my dream come true and being in a comic film like X-Men with a director who’s really passionate for those types of things, it was really interesting. And like the cherry on top was it was like a horror film with the X-Men with a great director. I was like what can you ask for more because it’s so exciting to have that kind of point of view in a film like this and having weird scary moments and trigger points that throughout the film you’re like “wow, wait, what?” And it doesn’t feel like it’s an action film, like, kind of like a superhero film, but at the end of the day it is, so is very revealing. So exciting.
Can you talk a little bit about maybe working with the other younger actors?
Yeah it was exciting like I was saying in each story of X-Men they have like the past that still haunts them and all these characters are the same and each individual a different one from another, but the interesting thing is that they are young, so we see them when they’re like 16, and in normal life, all of us when we’re 15 or 16 we’re still trying to figure out who we are or what we like what we don’t, like our place in the world, so the film kind of like goes to that…So it’s really interesting because they’re like 15, 16, 17-years-old, so even if they weren’t mutants, they would be in that moment in their lives, but on top of it all they’re mutants, so it’s interesting to have the relationship of them, like, trying to guide them through and making them understand their Journey as mutants and kind of like guide them through the experience that they had with their powers and how they develop you know in the future. And me at least as an actor to get the chance to work with this group was really exciting because I know, like each one of them from their work from before, like Charlie from the stranger things and Maisie, well, the most-watched shows of all time, no need for explanation. Like all these different actors from different places, it’s really exciting because they’re like 20 22, they’re 10 to 14 years younger than me and it’s very refreshing, it’s very exciting to be with them on camera because I feed myself so much of their energy and I remember when I was their age doing my first film like I was Blu’s age when I did I Am Legend, so it’s like I can feed myself or energy because it’s her first film and all of these things that are such a great exchange of helping her out some moments and getting so inspired by her in different moments and I think it’s just such a great Dynamic I got the different moment for me and my career and my life and having this encounter with them, they’re so, like full of youth and So different one from another but complement each other I think like they did an amazing cast because the five actors they’re really really powerful actors that each of them in their own unique way of acting they have a depth in it, so you see Anya and she’s just brilliant. If you guys just watch The Witch, she’s phenomenal, she creates every second, and then Charlie can go deep into it and Maisie so soft and delicate but she can go to dark places, so, kind of like having a chance to work with each one of them is very inspiring. I think the audience is really going to like it because I think they’re going to recognize themselves because they’re kind of like portraying youth in a certain way, so it’s very very interesting.
Does your character relate to them on a level, does she have a darker past?
Yeah I think it is because with mutants they end up having that thing of first discovering their powers, like we see so many of the films, like in every film like X-Men that were made like how scary it is when they first get their powers. I always remember with [ Cyclops], like he had to build the glasses and he couldn’t see until then, like, all those moments I think each one of them goes through it, and like I said being a teenager when you’re finding out things they can relate to it. And of course, being the tutor you guide them through it.
When your character is introduced as she soon as we know what person or is there a possibility that she has like an underlying motivation?
The first time we see doctor Reyes is that very moment that she trying to guide them through it, so, it’s revealing that I’m the tutor for these kids, which is great. I wish I was taller because then I’d be a taller tutor. When I got here I was like “Josh, I recommend us getting high heels for my character because I’m short.”
I’m curious what the audition process was like, considering this is not just a comic book superhero be but also a horror movie.
I ended up not auditioning for it because this project, Rosario Dawson was already attached, and I actually felt like really sad because I’m a big fan of her work and she’s a huge inspiration to me, but she personal problems, so she had to drop the film and she couldn’t take it, so Josh called me and we talked on the phone and he knew my work from before, so I ended up not having to audition for it, so I kind of like was invited, but it was very exciting at the same time I felt bad for her, but I was really excited because it was a great chance to do, like I said something that was a dream come true doing an X-Men series and playing a character that is different than, in a way, everything that I’ve played before, so even if it’s a doctor and I played in Elysium a nurse, it has differences in it, so it’s kind of a nice way to approach.
It’s a female slanted cast. Can you talk about that element and how the relationships between these women develop through to the movie?
Yes, definitely, we see the movie through Dani Moonstar’s eye. She is our guide in the film, and she’s the number one. And it’s really nice that you see number 1, number 2, number 3 on the call sheet are girls. And I think it’s very exciting especially when we’re talking about actual films and about comic books, X-Men world, normally it’s the other way around, so it’s really exciting to see, you know these characters being the ones that, like the boys as well, there are action scenes with them, but I think you guys are going to see tonight, right? Some of the action with Anya’s character and she is amazing in it. And you can see it. And I wish when I was like 15 or 13. where – it’s PG-13, right? Oh, can I say that? If it’s not, you guys don’t say it. It’s really exciting I think if I were like 14 if I could have seen a film like this, like watching these girls with superpowers and doing what they’re doing in the film because it – when you grow up I ended up watching films more with guys doing it, which is great, but I think it’s great to see yourselves and away that we recognize it was kind of dream of being that, so it’s really exciting and I think it’s about that.
They’re not going to be the damsels in distress just screaming in the corner.
Exactly, they’re super powerful and super strong characters and with their fragilities, normal, like the boys as well, strong but with their questions and fragility. So it’s interesting to balance that out, and Josh is so passionate about actors and about storyline, and he also wrote you know the script with Knate his childhood friend, which is also a wonderful guy, and they both have the respect in that desire to show with a different point of view I think he opens a lot of wonderful ideas for youth nowadays, and I think that’s so important because we have an away a chance with films to communicate so much and I think that’s so important, especially nowadays. Very especially nowadays.
Was it personally special to see a Brazilian superhero in this film?
It was amazing and I was so excited because I’ve never met Henry and when I got cast I came on board and it was really exciting to see him because he was excited to see me because he knew my work and we never met each other and he kind of like walk me through it and presented me to everybody and it was adorable because I kind of felt at home right away, and also because like I said like it’s his first big film he’s 24 I did my first big film when I was 23, so it’s great to be part of this moment in his life to share as a fellow Brazilian, like doing it, and especially seeing a superhero because we all got exactly, like we all love that Roberto was a Brazilian X-Men and now they’re finally putting him in a film, I think people are going to be really excited about it. And he’s a wonderful actor, I think he’s a really special boy. not because he’s Brazilian, but it helps that he’s Brazilian.
Do you, as a tutor or authority figure or Mentor in this, is that a burden that your character has to have on her own, or are there any other figures that you can bounce off of when helping the kids?
What do you mean?
Are you the only adult figure in it? Or are they other adult figures?
No, I’m the only adult. I’m the one that’s taking care of them and guiding them through the Journey more than anything. But yeah it’s me. I’m the old one. I’m the older sister slash mom.
In the 10 years since I Am Legend has making big gigantic movies like this gotten easier for you? I know there’s always a lot of downtime and there’s a lot of Machinery at work, it’s not like doing Indie movies. Has it got any easier over the years?
I mean, it’s always so exciting to experience and I think the butterflies thank God keeps the same. I remember the first day that I arrived here, like I said because I was the last one to be cast, I was the last one to arrive, so when I got here I had butterflies all over as if it was my first film. I think you always, I try to keep it alive because that’s what motivates you to be your best at it. But, um, When I got here I got that. But the same time you’re kind of know the tricks more of how to deal with the day and how the day goes by and all that. But I hopefully will see what has the butterfly going on and on and on. I felt very lucky to be able to jump on it because I love, like bouncing back and forth between small films and big films and TV shows, so it’s great to be able to do this. And this, in a way, even though it’s an X-Men film, I feel like the way Josh directs and the way the script is it doesn’t feel like it’s like a mega superhero film, it feels very much character-driven, and that’s why I think people, girls, boys, they’re really going to connect with the characters, which I think is a great, you know, special detail about the X-Men World.
It has a more grounded feel
Yeah, it has a more grounded feel. It feels like a horror film, but with superpowers. How much cooler can it be? You get scared and you have superpowers!
I’m curious about the atmosphere on set, is Josh Boone kind of adding to the atmosphere to make it spooky or creepy or, I mean this entire environment is…
This entire environment is very spooky. I mean, like he, everything is very much, Josh I think I prepared so much, him and Knate, beforehand, like about the script and all that, there’s not much rewrites happening, like they’re not, it’s more like overall creating the environment on set, the energy on the set. But like you said, this location is so amazing, they shot Shutter Island here, the Scorsese film, and you can feel it. I mean, I remember when I shot Elysium, the hospital that we shot, we shot in an abandoned,how you say, inactive, deactivated facility? Yeah, mental hospital, for some scenes, and just like being there, it brings some, kind of… I think there’s the same thing here, there’s an energy to it.
Have you had any spooky encounters while you’ve been here?
I haven’t done night shoots. Tomorrow I’m going to have my first night shoot, so now I’m going to get it, like what’s it going to be about, cuz it’s really like haven’t been much, out at night, I told them “I really hope they don’t have night shoots in here on this set.” But it’s great, just By turning the cameras on, it’s just amazing. And the DP, Peter is just phenomenal, he did Mulholland Drive and Twin Peaks, he’s a brilliant DP, so it’s going to be really amazing just like this on his eyes.
You talked about Josh bringing a grounded feeling to this, but what is he like as a director, you said that his work is very character-driven, but as you found him to be a very actor Centric director? Or more like concerned with the, you know, the technical side.
I think both, but it’s interesting because he’s a director that he’s so well-prepared, he prepared so much for the movie. I mean, like he storyboard of everything, he was really committed on the pre-production to know exactly what he needed and exactly what he wanted, that now he, when you’re on set, even though he’s still seeing, there’s storyboards there that he already figure it out and the kind of have as a guide for set, so on set he knows everything, it’s not something that he’s still developing. And that’s great because there’s so much preparation like he’s so ready to go so that when he’s on set he can give attention to like six actors like “hi! hello! hello!” that actors tend to do. We do, we always do.
Even with a strict idea of what he wants, do you still get a degree of creative freedom?
Completely, and then we’re on camera because he knows so much what he wants, he’s open to whatever comes up, so it’s not a director that’s very strict with lines, or with, he’s really open to what you can bring with the ideas in the text and all that. We haven’t changed much of the text because the scenes are so well, you know, structured, but like, some ideas or maybe flipping one thing to another, he’s a very open friend, and it’s nice when you have a director that is eager and open to hear the actors. He says “I chose you guys because I knew you would play these characters, so have fun with it. I just want to see what you can bring.” I think it’s very generous and very kind of a director to do that and he makes everything exciting because the creation, you know, together, is beautiful. One of the things I most love about making films, I think that’s because I come from his background, I come from a family that working in film. My mom was an AD when I was a kid, so I grew up on sets, like going to sets since I was 5 years old, but one of the things that I most love about it is that you don’t make it by yourself. You need the collaboration You need the team, you need the DP, you need the actors, you need the writer, you need the truck driver, you need the sound guy, you need a team, and Josh is a director that very much supports that, like the happenings of the group, and it totally translates to what goes on the screen. Like, right away the image that goes in it, you can sense that everyone was on a dance together, in a way.
Did you have to do any training?
Not much. We did some, but, because I arrived last minute, like I had two weeks for training and I’ve been training on and off, but we did some training for stunts and stuff like that.
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Stephen M. Colbert