“The Darkest Minds” is a fantastical sci-fi film about kids with superpowers who are abducted by the government. But for star Amandla Stenberg, it also reflects real-life issues like Donald Trump’s controversial immigration policy.
“There’s a timeliness to the plot line of these kids being separated from their parents by government,” Stenberg said at Variety‘s Comic-Con studio. “That happens to be a coincidence, and [director Jennifer Yuh Nelson] often talks about how when we entered the process of making it, it was science fiction, and now it’s kind of startling how relevant it feels. I think the allegory that feels most important to me is just the ability of these kids to accept their responsibility and their power and wield it well.”
Nelson weighed in on the film’s real-world ties as well, citing the kids’ supportive onscreen and offscreen relationships that allowed them to rely on one another.
“It’s not about the power so much as an allegory to explore what people can do when faced with a great deal of adversity, and the strength and the positivity that comes out of finding that bond,” Nelson said.
The “Darkest Minds” team also discussed how the film builds upon its source material: a sci-fi book series by Alexandra Bracken, who was pleased with Nelson’s adaptation.
“I often say that when they changed something, they made it cooler,” Bracken said. “They found a way to elevate it even more, so I think book fans will be obsessed.”
Though invited to Comic-Con, the young cast don’t consider their characters as superheroes. At the core of the story, they agreed, the kids are “just kids.”
“With superheroes, normally they’re not kids — they’re not normal kids like we are,” said actress Miya Cech. “In ‘Darkest Minds,’ we are just kids who develop these abilities, and it’s not like they get struck by lightning. It just happens.”
“The Darkest Minds” hits theaters on Aug. 3.