Before ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ Anya Taylor-Joy Said ‘New Mutants’ Re-Opened Teenage Trauma

Netflix just released the trailer for Anya Taylor-Joy’s next movie, The Queen’s Gambit, coming in October. Before she plays chess in that movie, her old movie The New Mutants is finally coming out. The X-Men spinoff has been delayed for several years, but finally comes to theaters and drive-ins Aug. 28.

Anya Taylor-Joy in New Mutants
Anya Taylor-Joy | Claire Folger/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Taylor-Joy participated in a Zoom press conference to discuss The New Mutants. She discussed why it was traumatic revisiting her own teenage years as a young mutant in the film. 

Anya Taylor-Joy was already 20 when she made ‘The New Mutants’

It’s common in Hollywood for actors to play a few years younger than they actually are. Reliving teenage years isn’t always easy though. 

“Any opportunity to go back to teenagedom is not necessarily the most fun experience, but you definitely learn a lot about yourself afterwards,” Taylor-Joy said. “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.”

‘The New Mutants’ have extra problems

The X-Men films also dealt with teenage characters coming to terms with their mutant powers. The New Mutants is exclusively a group of teenagers. 

Queen's Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy in New Mutants
Anya Taylor-Joy | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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“To make it a bit more cinematic, we added powers,” Taylor-Joy said. “Any teenager that’s going through the growing pains, trying to understand where you fit in, you’re no longer a child, but like, what is this weird adult world? I think they’ll definitely connect with it. And, then we have powers, which is really cool.”

‘The New Mutants’ was like a high school for the actors

The New Mutants takes place at a hospital treating the teenage mutants. Taylor-Joy said being sequestered together on set made it feel like being back in high school.

“The setting really helped with that, because it did feel like we were kind of in a high school/college experience,” Taylor-Joy said. “We were all going to the same place every single day, and then going back to, like, dorms.”

Anya Taylor-Joy read the ‘New Mutant’ comic books too

Taylor-Joy didn’t only have her own teenage years to draw on. There were years of comic books to help her explore The New Mutants before playing one.

New Mutants behind the scenes
L-R: Director Josh Boone, Anya Taylor-Joy and Charlie Heaton | Claire Folger/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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“I dove in for fun,” Taylor-Joy said. “You have to kind of go off the script because even if in your head you’re like, oh I pulled this bit from a comic book. Somebody that hasn’t read the comic when they go and see it, they’re not going to understand it. When you have Josh [Boone] as your director, like, you just have a walking encyclopedia of anything you ever need to know. It’s fun because you can read the comics at home and it’s like homework, but you’re actually just having a great time.”