Blu Hunt does not know how she really feels about The New Mutants finally opening after years of anticipation, but if she’s honest, “overwhelmed” probably sums it up best.
“I’m just like pacing around my apartment, walking in and out of my bedroom, lying down, getting up,” the actress told iHorror in a recent interview. “Like, I don’t know what to do with myself. And I can’t go do anything because I’m living in LA and I’m quarantined. I can’t go do things. I think I’m just really anxious. I’m anxious for it to come out. I’ve never had a movie I was in come out like this before.”
That feeling has been a part of her life since she was first cast in the role of Dani Moonstar, a young mutant with incredible reality-altering powers locked away in an asylum with other teenagers like herself. It was the role of a lifetime for a young actor who had never really been in a film.
The fact that it was a Marvel film had her pinching herself right up until the moment they were filming.
“I’m a realist to a fault,” Hunt explained. “The way that it happened. I didn’t let myself believe that it was happening for a long time. I mean even when I was there I was like this cannot be real. Wake me up. Just having this huge role in the movie, too. It wasn’t just like a background role. It was like, she comes in and she’s becoming a leader. It was a really intense role to take on but I mean it’s an incredible opportunity that I’m still grateful for it.”
It wasn’t just the fact that it was a Marvel movie, however, that challenged her. Co-writer and director Josh Boone had created a character with a lot of layers that Hunt had to navigate while playing the role many of which brought their own forms of pressure.
What she had not anticipated was the immediate social media reaction to her casting.
“The pressure of Dani being like the first leading, female, indigenous superhero in a film like this was really intense for me, especially because I am mixed race,” she pointed out. “I remember waiting to go make the movie, sitting in my bedroom, on my phone, looking at Twitter with everyone arguing about my heritage and my race and whether I’m dark enough skinned to play the role and really feeling the pressure come down on me, then. I really had to have that conversation with myself. Am I the right person to play this role? I am the right person to play this role. Some people don’t think I am, but I know I am.”
In the midst of that doubt, she reached out to other indigenous actors and members of her community for reassurance and was pleased when they seemed to just be happy for her for taking on this role. They also reminded her that she was representing something really important for other indigenous young people and to take that responsibility seriously.
It wasn’t only pressure from the online indigenous community, however. When it was revealed that Hunt’s character would be involved in a romantic relationship with Rahne Wolfsbane played by Maisie Williams, another corner of social media seemed to rise up as well.
Some were upset that the characters were a part of the LGBTQ community, labeling it political. Others were upset that the wrong characters were being put into a same-sex relationship. And others were upset in general with seemingly no reason at all.
Hunt was again overwhelmed and she credits Williams–who had plenty of experience dealing with social media rage during her time on Game of Thrones–with helping her through that.
“After talking to Maisie, she was like, you just can’t care,” she said. “I think that was one of my favorite parts of Dani’s character is that she got to be gay. I loved that. I loved that this was my first romantic role in a movie. Getting to have that with another woman was just really was an honor. It was really cool to represent both the Indigenous community and the LGBTQ community.”
Hunt eventually left social media behind, and has been able to focus more on what this role meant to her and the kind of character that Dani Moonstar ultimately became.
“When I read the comic books, like the way she moves through the world to me was really strong and tough,” she said. “She’s like a complicated leader. She’s incredibly intelligent and strong but she’s also kind of introverted. She likes to be alone. In the comic books she kind of sits in the woods and thinks about things. She’s really deep. Playing her this young, as a 16 year old, I just really wanted to play her more, not sad, but a little more shy but finding out that she’s strong. She doesn’t know she’s a strong person yet. She’s just tough. She doesn’t take anybody’s shit but she’s really insecure and a teenager.”
The New Mutants is out this week in theaters across the country with openings in drive-ins, as well, on August 28, 2020. Take a look at Blu Hunt in the introduction video for her character that released earlier today below.