In 2017, Blu Hunt starred in her first feature film, The New Mutants. Unfortunately, due to a number of factors, including the sale of the 20th Century Fox film business to Disney, the movie did not hit theaters until August 28 2020, over two years after its original planned release date in April 2018. Regardless, now that the film is out on Blu-ray and digital, all of that behind-the-scenes drama can be firmly placed in the rearview mirror and The New Mutants can live on as the final chapter in Fox’s X-Men series, which began back in 2000.
Hunt stars as Dani Moonstar, a young woman with strange powers who is forced to live in a mysterious asylum with several other Mutants, played by Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, and Henry Zaga. The asylum is a far cry from Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, and things get even worse when the residents begin suffering from strange experiences, leading to the super hero version of a haunted house flick.
While promoting the home video release of The New Mutants, Blu Hunt spoke to Screen Rant about working on the film and her rising star in Hollywood. She talks about being a queer Native American actress starring as a queer Native American character, and how important it is for characters who are part of marginalized communities to be portrayed by actors who represent those communities. She talks about her personal love of superhero movies, balancing her work life and her personal life, and shares what she would like to do in the next phase of her career.
The New Mutants is out now on Blu-ray and Digital.
The New Mutants was your first movie, right?
Yeah, yes it is!
So, what’s it been like to finally get to show off this movie, three years or so after you made it? How are you taking a victory lap?
Well, I definitely took my victory lap the day it came out, but it was not the victory lap I thought I would be taking when I took on the role three years ago. I was like, “It’s out, it’s done, I can move on, I can do something else with my life!” It felt so freeing. I was the happiest I’ve been in, like, years. It was a strange weight to have on my shoulders. Even when I wasn’t thinking about it, it was on the back of my mind. For it to finally leave my mind was nice.
What were the first scenes you shot? The first days on set, what did you shoot?
The first scene we did was the attic scene. The very first thing I ever filmed was that scene where I’m talking about my dad and the necklace and the bear, where we’re all doing the lie detector test.
I think it’s one of the better scenes, too. I remember when I watched it, I really liked that scene. I feel like we were all so excited to be there, and so happy to finally start filming, that it was really fun, filming that scene.
So, you had a month of rehearsals, and the whole movie is set in this one location, with a really small cast. Tell me about bonding with a small group of people. I mean, I know you had a whole crew and everything, but were you all on set every day?
I was on set alone a lot. Or it was me and Maisie, or me and someone else. Then, it was kind of near the end when it was all of us, all the time. I feel like I worked almost every day, except for a few days. It was very intense, and I had never made a movie, so to be leading it like that and working so much… I guess I always thought acting was going to be very glamorous or easy, (laughs) but it’s probably one of the most intense and difficult things I’ve ever done! But it was really nice when we were all on set together.
Okay, now that the movie is out, and it’s your first movie, I kinda feel bad for you, because there’s supposed to be a lot more parties! There’s supposed to be cocktails and red carpets and all that!
In a weird way, it’s very humbling. I never cared about those things. I have humble origins, and I think it’s good for Hollywood, the acting industry, and the actors to have that taken away from them a little bit. I know that sounds sad to say, but I think, at the end of the day, even with me, it’s reminded me of why I wanted to do what I wanted to do in the first place. When I got the role, everyone was, like, “You’re gonna be a movie star! You’re gonna be on billboards! And there’s gonna be parties and premieres and flying around the world!” And I was like, “Oh my God, what?”
Maybe you’ll get those for Part 2, if you get the chance to make that. I mean, that whole behind-the-scenes excitement is just, ya know, a lot. Do you have any kind of ideas or insight as to a hypothetical New Mutants 2: Still New? Henry said the plan would have been to go to Brazil…
That’s what we originally thought was going to happen. I’m not sure, though, about a sequel.
Would you sign on in an instant if Kevin Feige was, like, “Green Light!”
…Maybe! (Laughs) I don’t know, it would depend on a lot of things. Maybe.
You’re already an expert on hardballing it. “Show me a script, let’s talk first!”
Yeah! Let’s see. I’m not gonna say anything. (Laughs) I mean, with Disney on it? I feel like Disney is very nice to their actors. I don’t know it for sure, but I feel like Disney is nice to their actors, so maybe I would, knowing that. I really think it would be cool if Dani came back as a Valdyrie. I want to wear something cool and I wanna fly through the air, I want to be in a full CGI world. I think that’s fun.
Tell me about getting started in show-biz. What made you want to become an actor and why did you want to do that instead of, you know, picking up crates on the dock?
I guess acting had kind of… I feel like I’m one of those people who is a little bit good at everything. I write, I draw, I paint, I can do a little bit of everything. I play sports a little bit… But acting was the thing I felt free and happy doing. Whenever I was acting, I really felt happy. Even when I was doing a sad scene, I felt happy. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a fine artist, I wanted to go to art school. But when I thought about it, I still felt kind of miserable in my room, painting, and I felt so happy when I was acting. I just wanted to do something with my life that made me happy, that I would always be happy doing. I loved movies, too. I’m obsessed with movies. All I want to do is make movies, talk about movies… It’s hard to hang out with me, because I turn everything into a conversation about movies. I’m such a nerd. I moved to L.A. when I was just barely 18. I had just turned 18, I did a couple of years in theater school. I love theater so much. I think I’m happier doing theater than I am doing movies. But I haven’t done theater in a long time. But then, it never really dawned on me, all the things that come with making movies, which, weirdly, were the things that didn’t make me as happy as acting.
Things like what?
You know, the agents and the events and the clothes, and all that. I was suddenly thinking about all these things I’d never thought about, and I felt like a different person. But now that I’ve been in quarantine… I don’t take it for granted anymore.
You’ve probably been over this a million times, but I think representation is very important in these movies, especially in superhero, or superhero-adjacent movies. I think it’s awesome that the lead actor in a tentpole movie like this, gets to be Native American.
Yeah, and gay!
Right! Wow, I almost forgot. You even get to kiss in the movie!
I always think it’s funny when people talk about the representation. I was thinking about it more, recently. It’s something that I’ve been working on with myself more and more as I’m getting older… Well, “older,” I’m 25. But (Laughs), everyone is always talking about how she’s Native, and nobody talks about how she’s gay, and nobody really cares about who is representing gay roles. Usually, it’s straight women who play lesbian characters. I’ve just been thinking about that recently. So I’m proud and honored to play Dani, because she is so much of who I am. I’m a queer person and I’m Native American, and I get to be the lead of a superhero film, playing all of that. And she’s such a cool character, too. I think it’s really special to a lot of people. No matter what happened with the movie, how long it took to come out, or whatever critics said when it came out… I think Dani Moonstar is a very special character. And I’m happy she got to be seen, and I’m happy I got to portray her.
I think, honestly, with all the headlines about the delays and all that, it’s all gonna fade away now that the movie is on home video, and New Mutants will finally get to live alongside all the other X-Men movies that have come out since the original back in 2000. We’ll see what the future holds, but this is kind of the “final chapter” in that long-running saga. You’re 25, I’m 29, we both grew up with these movies, right?
Oh yeah. I remember watching the first X-Men with my dad and just being, like, “WOAH.” There was nothing like it. I must have been six or seven. We had to do a project in school, “Who is your hero?” It was supposed to be firefighters or parents, and I put the Wolverine, and I said it was because he was handsome, but I think I spelled “handsome” wrong. I was, like, “The Wolverine is my hero because he’s a hero and he’s handsome.” (Laughs)
I mean, both of those things are true!
They are! He is a very handsome hero. So, being able to be in an X-Men movie after I’ve grown up… And I really did watch all the X-Men movies, all of them. And I loved them. I love all superhero movies. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies are the best superhero movies ever made, along with the original X-Men. They’re just so pure. There’s something pure, there’s no pretense, it was testing the waters to see what they could do. Superhero movies will never be that again, but they’re still really great and cool in their own way now.
Okay, now that New Mutants has run its course, it’s like, you did it. You passed the trial. You’re “in,” now. You’ve got TV shows and you’re doing lots of stuff. Do you think of it in terms of your career goals? Do you have another goal you’d like to clear, or do you just kinda play it by ear, see where the river takes you, so to speak?
I think I kind of want to see where the river is gonna take me. I also think, at the beginning of your career, when you’re an actor, you have to go with the flow for a while until you can, hopefully, take complete control. I did have a lot of goals at one point, but then, eventually, I had to let go of attaching myself to my acting career. Who I am as an actor and what I do as an actor has nothing to do with who I am as a person. That social group, and the things I love and I like, my personality, all of that has nothing to do with the movies I do, or my acting. Acting is my job, you know? That was something I didn’t realize. It’s a blessing to be able to act and get paid for it at all. But now I’m just going with the flow, seeing what’s next, trying not to put too much pressure on myself, and just experience and enjoy life. We only get one, maybe… At least one that we know of, or whatever!
You’ve got perspective!
I think quarantine and the protests really changed things. I realized, I had been… Kinda depressed, because I was being such a workaholic and hard on myself. I had to realize that’s not all of what life is. I don’t want to think about tomorrow, I guess. I want to be more present, which, at the end of the day, makes you a better actor, too.
Next: Screen Rant’s The New Mutants Review
The New Mutants is out now on Blu-ray and Digital.
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