Thank you so much to 20th Century Fox and Big Honcho Media for inviting us to a screening and Q&A with the cast of The Maze Runner. Directed by Wes Ball and based on the YA novel by James Dashner, the film adaptation will be released on Friday, September 19, 2014.
The movie stars Dylan O’Brien as Thomas, Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, Will Poulter as Gally, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Aml Ameen as Alby, and Ki Hong Lee as Minho.
After the screening, the main cast (minus Aml Ameen) answered some questions for a mix of bloggers, reviewers, and fans. We hope you enjoy the trailer and event recap, as well as the photos, including stills from the film (used with permission) and photos from the Q&A session by our friend Katie Ferguson (pocketofgreen).
The Maze Runner follows Thomas (Dylan O'Brien, Teen Wolf), a young man whose memories have been wiped clean before he wakes up in the center of a giant labyrinth. The other boys subsisting in The Glade, the green heart of the maze, especially their de facto leader, Alby (Aml Ameen, Lee Daniels' The Butler) quickly absorb him into their community. Their day-to-day routine is tense, but the boys seem to have organized themselves well enough to get by despite their straitened circumstances. The letters W.C.K.D. are stamped on various things, including the provisions that arrive with each new arrival, but no one can remember what it stands for.
Thomas's fascination with the maze, which at night is filled with monsters called Grievers, arouses distrust in another boy, Gally (Will Poulter, We're The Millers), who blames Thomas for all of the strange occurrences following his appearance. This includes the appearance of the first and only girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario, Skins). After one of the runners who goes out daily trying to find a way out of the maze shows signs of having been infected with a zombie-like affliction, events quickly take a downward turn. What is W.C.K.D.? Why are they in the maze? And most importantly, can they get out before it's too late?
Asked if they thought the world ran better with or without adults, Will Poulter remarked on the wide range of ages among the cast members, from then 12-year-old Blake Cooper (Chuck) to Aml Ameen, who is nearing 30. The 21-year-old Poulter talked about how they all got along very well and became very close, then quipped, "Don't get me wrong. Some adults helped us make this."
Throughout the Q&A, the cast members seemed really friendly with each other. Asked what it was like to be on set with "just a bunch of dudes", Kaya Scodelario replied:
Dylan O'Brien cut in, saying, "But still polite," and Scodelario agreed. " We just had so much fun as a group... a lot of the boys' girlfriends came on set and sisters and stuff like that. So, there were females to interact with. But in the words of Aml [Ameen], I am quite laddish anyway."
Asked what was the most challenging and fun stunt they had to do on set, O'Brien laughingly recalled a 12-hour day spent hanging from wires, shooting a scene where he's climbing or hanging from vines in the maze: "They would just bring me food. They didn't want to lower me because it would just take a lot more time." He also had some takes where falling leaves and debris from the maze walls kept getting in his eyes, and how the director handled that:
One of the bloggers asked the cast which of their previous characters they've played in other films would survive the longest in the maze, Ki Hong Lee (The Nine Lives of Chloe King), who plays Minho, said none of his previous roles would compare to the characters in the book.
The cast talked about running (hate it!), passionate fans (love them!), and portions of the book that didn't make the cut. O'Brien mentioned the Beetle Blades, scurrying mechanical creatures thought to be spies for the bigger, deadlier Grievers, and how they derailed the story too much and got left out of the final version of the movie. Poulter referred to a gag reel which he hopes will be on the DVD, because it "speaks a lot to our professionalism. It's 20 minutes of us cracking up and not doing our jobs properly."
The whole group also weighed in on the lack of romance in the film. Poulter concluded that there were enough emotions and relationships running among the Gladers themselves, that throwing in a romance amidst the bromance, as Lee called it, would have been really weird.
Scodelario said, "[Teresa]'s purely about survival. And that's so brave and so kind of against the grain nowadays with female characters in films. So, I really liked that. And it's like Dylan said, there would be no time for them to be like, oh, let's go for a little walk in the forest together—"
"In the Glade," Thomas Brodie-Sangster finished the thought. O'Brien added that he hopes that the flirty scenes they shot don't end up on the DVD. "I think it works without it," agreed Scodelario, followed by nods and murmurs of agreement by her cast mates.
The Maze Runner opens nationwide on Friday, September 19, 2014.
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Synopsis: When Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape. Based upon the best-selling novel by James Dashner.
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee
Directed By: Wes Ball
Produced By: Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen