CS Interview: Alice Braga Talks Playing Dr. Reyes in The New Mutants
ComingSoon.net had the opportunity to chat with 20th Century Studios’ The New Mutants star Alice Braga about taking on the Marvel Comics character Dr. Cecilia Reyes in the new horror thriller, her time on set, and what it feels like to finally have the movie released and now playing in theaters.
20th Century Studios in association with Marvel Entertainment presents The New Mutants, an original horror thriller set in an isolated hospital where a group of young mutants is being held for psychiatric monitoring. When strange occurrences begin to take place, both their new mutant abilities and their friendships will be tested as they battle to try and make it out alive.
The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy (Split, The Witch) as Magik and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones, gen:LOCK) as Wolfsbane, with Henry Zaga (13 Reasons Why) as Sunspot, Blu Hunt as Dani Moonstar, and Stranger Things’ Charlie Heaton as Cannonball.
The New Mutants adapts the monthly comic book series of the same name that launched in 1982. Created by Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, The New Mutants follows on a group of teenage mutants as heroes in training in the Marvel Universe. The feature is expected to be a departure from the sci-fi-action spectacle of other X-Men films and is instead being described as a “Stephen King meets John Hughes”-style horror movie.
In November 2017, ComingSoon.net exclusively revealed a leaked concept animatic from the film, which features Wolfsbane, Magic, and Cannonball facing the Demon Bear.
ComingSoon.net: Great to see you again. I was lucky enough to be on the set. I guess that was two years ago.
Alice Braga: Yeah, three. I think it was 2017.
CS: That’s right, yeah. My daughter hadn’t been born yet. Oh my god.
CS: I remember having this thought like, man, after what I’ve seen today of the three X-Men movies they’re making right now, this is the one I want to see the most. And I still haven’t seen it yet.
Braga: Thank you so much for saying that. Appreciate it.
CS: I’m obviously a little handicapped from not having seen the film, but I guess the first most obvious question is just, how does it feel to finally see it getting out there, and you know, even amidst all the mess that we’re going through right now?
Braga: It’s been really special. I mean, we’ve been waiting for such a long time. We had so many changing dates for the release that it’s exciting to feel the audience, you know, the fans waiting with us side-by-side for the film to come out. So I think that warms my heart to, okay, finally we’re bringing it to them. And especially in a hard time for the world, for everyone. So I think the movie will bring something that people are excited to see in times that is hard. I think it’s special. So I’m really excited. I was really excited to promote and to talk to the journalists, the fans, for everyone to bring it on.
CS: Yeah. And would it be fair to call your characters sort of like a Nurse Ratched kind of a character within this film?
Braga: Yeah, I mean, Josh [Boone] and I discussed a lot about references and stuff like that right before we started filming, when I joined the cast. And it was definitely one of our references, not necessarily for her behavior or for me to copy her, but there is this kind of vibe. And Josh is a movie fan. I mean, like he loves comics. He loves movies. He loves horror films, thrillers, psychological thrillers, so definitely one of his references was that and we discussed. We talked about it and it is, in a way. I mean, we got the comics because the character is from a different comics… My character’s Cecilia Reyes. So specifically, I tried to merge a little bit into that like, getting that character into this world with that kind of psychological thriller vibe.
CS: Yeah, and when you were on set, I don’t even think I asked you about this when we were on set, but when you guys were all together, did you like, keep a certain distance from everybody else or was it just like regular camaraderie on the set?
Braga: No, we’re actually very close. I mean, like I called them the kids, because for me, they’re my kids. But they were like 20… So they wanted to party. They were a little bit bored. So we would go out sometimes. And we would sometimes go to the movies together.
Braga: But sometimes, I would just stay in reading and being the older person in the gang. But it was great. I mean, like it was a very special group of people. It felt like we were doing an independent film because it’s such a small cast and crew. It was very, very exciting.
CS: Yeah, I actually went to school in Boston, so I know everything kind of shuts down after one o’clock.
Braga: Well, I love the area. It’s such a beautiful area of parks and amazing walks in the woods. I loved it.
CS: Yeah, no, it’s a very cool area. And you mentioned that Josh, he’s all in on all the material and everything. And I think I remember it was a very swift thing of you being cast and you having to go shoot. Did you have time to deep dive into the material? Did you read certain comics? How familiar were you with sort of the X-Men universe?
Braga: I mean, I was very familiar with the X-Men universe just because my mom always loved comics and stuff like that. So I kind of always loved those types of films and stuff like that. But specifically for this film, I tried to connect with Josh to understand how he wanted to build this character, instead of like, just digging deep only in the comics. But more to connect with Josh to understand how he wanted to build this character, to help this, you know, New Mutants to rise and to create their journeys and all of that. So I really connected with Josh for the references, but I also got her personality and then her spine from the comics, meaning she’s a mutant that is very focused on her career. She’s a doctor. She’s very committed to that. She’s not committed at all with her powers. So I kind of like, tried to bring that.
CS: Yeah, and what would you say was the most arduous scene to film?
Braga: Well, it’s out in the trailer, so it’s great I can talk about it, but when I had the prosthetics in my face, that was crazy, because I never had to use lenses, contact lenses. So, I was anxious. I was super excited because I always loved how the eye looked. But it’s a gigantic contact lens, so I had to have a doctor to put it in my eye because it was so big that I couldn’t do it by myself. I wear contact lenses, but even though, it was hard. So that gave kind of like a crazy vibe on set, when you’re working with prosthetics and stuff like that. That was exciting.
CS: Yeah, I mean, it seemed like there was a huge commitment to doing as much as they could practically. Is that true?
Braga: Yeah, it was. It was. I mean, Josh is a very particular director. He’s so passionate for comics, for this type of genre and for these characters, so I really think that the fans are going to be happy with this film, because you can get it all. Like you get psychological thriller/horror. You get superhero, you know, New Mutants vibe. And it’s kind of like, it feels like in a way sometimes like just a classic movie. So you kind of like have all that vibe in one.