For 'Darkest Minds' cast, filming was almost like summer camp

"The Darkest Minds" director Jennifer Yuh Nelson talks the emotional core of the movie and cast members Miya Cech, Amandla Stenberg, Skylan Brooks and Harris Dickinson discuss their characters' superpowers.

“The Darkest Minds” is set in a future where the very few children who survive a mysterious pandemic are thrown into internment camps for gaining superpowers. But shooting the film was more like summer camp.

At least it was according to the movie’s cast and crew. “The Darkest Minds” stars Amandla Stenberg, Miya Cech, Skylan Brooks and Harris Dickinson — along with director Jennifer Yuh Nelson and author of the original novel Alexandra Bracken — visited the L.A. Times’ studio at Comic-Con last month to discuss the adaptation.

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Nelson is perhaps best known for her work in animation. She directed “Kung Fu Panda 2,” becoming the first woman to solo-direct a big-budget Hollywood animated film, and she also directed “Kung Fu Panda 3” (along with Alessandro Carloni).

With “The Darkest Minds,” she jumped into the directing chair of a live-action film for the first time.

“What made this movie really exciting for me was the great emotional core,” said Nelson. “There’s a tight group of characters that depend on each other, and it’s a very positive message.”

A lot of the filming took place outdoors, and Nelson commended her young cast for being “troopers about it.”

Learn all about those challenges, and the characters’ special powers, in the video above.

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“The Darkest Minds” hits theaters Friday.

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