The much-delayed The New Mutants began filming on location at Medfield State Hospital in Boston back in the summer of 2017. The site of a former insane asylum was a perfect fit for the first horror thriller set in Marvel’s X-Men Universe, but was the filming location as scary as it sounds?
“To me, it was more about the smell,” according to Henry Zaga who plays Sunspot. “I think there was something really creepy about the smell that just got into your soul before you thought about it.”
Alice Braga who plays Cecilia Reyes thought the location was particularly scary when filming at night. “I wouldn’t walk by myself. There was no way!”
Director Josh Boone agreed. “There were several crew members who had weird experiences there, had to be walked to their car at night because they were scared to walk there by themselves after they’d be in the buildings all day.”
A long-time groundskeeper at the site would share some particularly horrifying stories as the shoot went on. “I remember him putting his arm around me and he was like, ‘See that basketball court over there?’ I was like, yeah. He goes, ‘You know, the state made that for Little Jimmy when he came here,” according to Boone. “I was like, oh they made it for a kid, that’s so sweet. And (he’s) like, “He stabbed his family.'”
Anya Taylor-Joy, who plays Magik, thought the location really helped with getting into character. “It did feel like we were kind of in a high school slash college experience. We were all going to the same place every single day and then going back to dorms.”
“It was like a college experience,” jokes Boone, “But where the set that you were on somebody had hung themselves there maybe 40 years before.”
The cast was introduced to that detail about their location from the very beginning of production. “I remember in the attic that we shot in on the first day, that was a place where somebody had hung
themselves,” says Zaga.
Charlie Heaton who plays Cannonball remembered encountering writing on the walls. “There was some weird encryption on the wall or something that like. Death. Was it a death note? I don’t know.”
One member of the cast was completely unphased by the creepy location. “I’ve shot in too many abandoned mental hospitals,” says Maisie Williams who plays Wolfsbane. “I’m like really way too chill about the situation.”
You can catch The New Mutants in theaters, where permitted, on August 28, 2020.