Director Josh Boone has landed headlines just ahead of the opening of his latest film, The New Mutants. Specifically, Boone has lambasted Disney, Lucasfilm and director JJ Abrams for what he deems a pandering gay kiss in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
The Rise of Skywalker opened last winter to harsh reviews, though the film did win praise for the inclusion of a brief, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kiss between two secondary female characters. For Boone, whose new film features two key queer characters, including that kind of incidental representation“the most embarrassing” type of cynical marketing.
Boone tells TooFab, “It was just somebody in the background and [the filmmakers] were like, ‘We’ll put out articles as if this is something you should pay attention to. I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, I’m a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. They did this in the ’90s already, but they did it on television.”
Of the gay relationship in The New Mutants, he adds: “We didn’t put this in to be confrontational or really even in a calculated way, it just happened naturally. We wrote it because the characters in the comic have like an intimate telepathic connection and it just sort of felt like the right thing to do, and it was more of a gentle thing and a coming of age thing than it was a sexual thing. I hope this would reach some people and for young women out there who are gay and don’t see representation in a big movie, it’s like, you guys can dress up at Halloween and hold hands and be them and that’s awesome.”
Boone’s comments come on the heels of reports of a difficult production process for The New Mutants, with stories of intense conflict between Boone and Fox executives–and later, with Disney brass–over the film’s content. Disney has also come under fire in recent years for including incidental or implied representation of LGBTQ characters in its films. Besides the Rise of Skywalker instance, the company also was lambasted for claiming the live-action Beauty and the Beast remake featured the character of Lefou as gay…based on one scene where he’s shown dancing with another man.