I traveled to the set of The Maze Runner in June 2013, and got to chat with the director Wes Ball, the producer Wyck Godfrey, and actors including Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. These are portions of my interviews compiled into 40 of my favorite things I learned from the talent I got to chat with.
The film was directed by Wes Ball, and is based on the novel by James Dashner. It hits theaters on September 19th, 2014.
His hair almost cost him the role of Thomas!
DYLAN O’BRIEN: “Just like anything, I just auditioned for it. It’s funny. The way Wes told me it happened was, at first, I went in on it initially with the casting director, just like everybody. I didn’t hear back for like a month and a half, because Wes was like, “His hair is too MTV!” That’s what he thought, which was so funny. Then he saw a picture of me with more regular hair, the buzzcut or something from “Teen Wolf,” and he brought me back and it worked. [Looks at my recorder.] Is this on Airplane Mode? That’s hilarious! [Laughs] Yeah, it just ended up working out.”
On Thomas’ unique relationship with Kaya Scodelario’s Teresa:
DYLAN O’BRIEN: “We have a connection. We kind of just make each other feel safe in a way. It’s surprisingly unromantic, but I think that’s good. It’s so uncliche in a perfect way. We don’t have a kiss at the end of the movie. It’s really nice. It’s a companionship.”
Will Poulter was Dylan’s on-set boyfriend:
[Will Poulter (Gally) passes by and calls out, "I love you Dylan!"]
DYLAN O’BRIEN: “That’s Will. He’s my boyfriend here. You have to latch onto somebody while you’re working. It is a little bit like prison, what we do here.”
On seeing thousands during the casting process:
WES BALL: “It was tough. I saw thousands and thousands of people. Dylan was actually… I saw him early on, very early on and I overlooked him. It was a big learning experience there, because I overlooked him because of his hair. He had teen wolf hair and I couldn’t see past that and so we were looking for our Thomas and it’s a tough role to make, because he comes in as a boy and he leaves as a man, so it cant’ be like this badass action star that comes into this movie. It’s about vulnerability up front and then he comes out of it and comes into his own and then the next movies are about the leader that emerges from the group. So finally Fox says “We just did this movie, INTERNSHIP. There’s this kids that’s in this thing. He’s like twenty years old. We think he’s kind of got something.” So I watched his tape and was like “Wait a minute, I’ve seen this kid before.” I looked him up online and there was one picture of him with a totally shaved head and it’s this sweet vulnerable looking kid and I was like “Whoa, interesting.” I said, “Wait a minute, he’s just so familiar” and I looked back at my old audition tapes, which we had thousands of, and there’s Dylan. That guy I said “No, definitely not him.” So we brought him back in and we started to talk with him and I’m like “oh my god,” he’s the coolest dude ever. His dad is in the industry, has done some camera operating stuff, so he’s been around it. He knows what it means to work. He’s a pro. So yeah, it’s interesting, that whole process.”
He always wanted Kaya Scodelario for the role of Teresa:
WES BALL: “I wanted Kaya from the very beginning. I just saw her. I had seen SKINS and stuff and she was much younger, but you see it in the fan responses. I think we’ve got some tremendous response to our casting so far. Everyone is like “Of course. That’s Gally” or “Of course, that’s Teresa!” Teresa is always described as “pale, dark hair, tough girl” and that’s Kaya. She’s gorgeous, but it’s a natural beauty. It’s not like a supermodel beauty and I can’t wait for people to actually meet Kaya on this movie. I think she’s going to be fantastic.”
The entire cast spent the night in the Glade.
WYCK GODFREY: “I know it was Wes’ originally, before they showed up he was like ‘Man, I’d really love to have a campout night at the Glade.’ Of course I was like ‘Well, I’m not sure we should do that!’ Then the actors came and did bootcamp out here and they were working with this ranger that was teaching them all this survivalist stuff, and at some point they brought it up independently to him. They said, ‘Can we stay out here?’ Wes was like ‘Yes!’ So we set them up out here, we gave them tents, we didn’t make them sleep completely exposed. So, they spent the night out here! It’s a completely different place when there’s nobody around. You can hear when you walk around the noise of all the creatures and stuff. They had one of their most severe thunderstorms at around 3 in the morning, and it just unloaded on them. It rained like five inches in like four hours, it was insane. So they were good and ready to come back at like seven in the morning!”
The Gladers had a week-long boot camp.
WYCK GODFREY: “They would come out, do a bunch of survival stuff, then we would rehearse scenes. The thing that is so great is they really did form a bond. Even the extras did too! The extras were here everyday – they all have relationships, and you can see when we do these big wide shots, it’s not like your standard extras. They all now know each-other, and are communing in a way that feels very natural.”
On how she got the role of Teresa:
KAYA SCODELARIO: “I had heard about it. A lot of my friends told me that there is this really cool script going around called The Maze Runner and I thought it’s going to be another stupid female role where she is in love with loads of people and she doesn’t know what to do. They said, no, she’s actually a really good female part. She’s really strong and intelligent and it’s exciting. I loved the script. I found it really interesting. Then I put myself on tape because I was back in England and that was it really, it was quite strangely done in that way that I didn’t have to fly out to America. Wes told me he didn’t want her to be a damsel in distress. I totally got that.”
Her first scene:
KAYA SCODELARIO: “It’s really cool! I come up in this box and I open my eyes and there’s like fifty boys. It’s great! (Laughs) But seriously, she kind of bursts on to the scene and everything starts going wrong from there. It was a lot of fun and it was actually the first scene I shot, so it was good to have that kind of energy. It was terrifying walking onto the set with all of these guys and being the only female and being English and being in America and all of these crazy things. So it was easy to be freaked out by the situation but it went really well. It looks awesome. The doors how they open and everything, it’s very cool.”
On what she and the guys do when they aren’t filming:
KAYA SCODELARIO: “We’ve been going to the cinema a lot. I love that over here you can watch films at midnight, you can’t do that back home. So we’ve been going to late night movies a lot which has been fun.”
Rest of the list at the source