Recently, I was invited to join a group of bloggers to attend a screening of The Maze Runner Movie and a Q&A with the cast. Sadly for me, it was held on the Friday of my first week back at school. Instead I offered my spot to my friend, David. The following is David's thoughts on his time with at the Q&A.
A few Fridays ago I had the pleasure of taking some time off of work and driving out to the Fox Studios where I had the opportunity to see the upcoming film of The Maze Runner and participate in a Q&A with the young stars of the cast.
The Maze Runner is a book written by James Dashner. It’s the first in a dystopian trilogy of books that was recommended to me by a friend who had been recommended by another friend so we’ve been buzzing for a while. When we found out that it was going to be a movie, we were pretty excited. And not just because we’re big fans of Dylan O’Brien, the actor who plays the main character, Thomas.
If you don’t mind the premise, it’s kind of important because when I talk about a pig, you’ll have no idea what pig I’m talking about. In the beginning there is Thomas and he is rapidly ascending a metal frame elevator.
This cage-like elevator also contains a squealing pig and other supplies which are delivered to a camp of boys who live in the Glade, surrounded by a mysterious concrete Maze. Some of the boys run through the Maze trying to find their way out and nobody can remember anything other than their name and that this is not normal.
Watched the movie. Ate a bagel. And then there was the Question and Answer session with Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Dylan O’Brien. The conversation was fun and quite a few thoughtful responses about the craft of acting were tendered.
The cast was asked if the world runs better with or without adults. In the Glade, the characters have had to form a self-governing community without adults. The actual age of the guys in the cast ranged from Blake Cooper who plays 12 as Chuck to Aml Ameen who plays Alby at 28. Amongst this group they naturally formed a kind of family.
Kaya Scodelario plays Teresa, the only female in the Glade. She was asked what it was like to be on set with just a bunch of dudes. Her response was that she never felt like the only girl. They didn’t behave differently around her, they were dirty and rude – but still polite. And there were girlfriends and sisters who came to the set. But she was told by Aml that she was quite laddish anyway.
It was pointed out that in The Maze Runner, unlike so many other stories about young people in end-of-the-world scenarios, there is no romance. Quite often you’ll find in books (and their corresponding movies) that a girl will be forced to make a choice between two boys in the most catastrophic of situations. Ki Hong Lee pointed out that there’s a lot of bromance. His character Minho and Thomas definitely have a bromance, running around the maze, saving each other’s lives, having a grand time.
Dylan thought it was entirely appropriate. Kids would not be flirting in the situation. Or smooching. And Kaya thought it was honest, to have the freedom to play a side other than perhaps the girl who appears to conveniently be a romantic love interest for the male protagonist. Teresa, like everyone else, is trying to survive. Will Poulter who plays Gally pointed out that not every teenager is in and out of love all the time. He never fell in love as a teenager. It’s not something that doesn’t have to be in every teen film.
In the film Gally is the closest thing Thomas has to an antagonist, ignoring of course the things in the maze that tries to kill him. Will Poulter isn’t known for playing villains or the bully. He might be best recognized as Eustace Scrubb in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader where he complains a lot and is generally selfish. He described his roles and being a dork, and a member of the audience described him as an underdog, which makes his casting unexpected as it plays against type.
But that’s basically something all of the cast had to play. None of the characters in The Maze Runner come with a backstory. They all have to encounter the Glade without memories or knowledge about what is going on or what will happen. Gally’s motivations can be expressed as a need to control a situation where he very much is not in control. His need to enforce rule and order contrasts with the impulsive Thomas, whose first instinct it seems is to run into trouble, especially if told otherwise.
There was a lot of running to be done and Dylan and Ki had to run for several hours a day. Dylan is more of a sprinter and so when you see their performance on screen, they’re not just acting exhausted, they’re appropriately tired. On set they would run in an abandoned parking lot that was sprayed down to make it look muddy and of course that had the side effect of making the surface slippery and difficult to run on. There were several falls, especially if they had to sprint around a turn.
There were other hazards in the shoot as well. Dylan was doing wire work, where he was climbing up the walls of the maze and they kept him up in the air the entire day. The crew didn’t want to lower him because it would take too much time. They shook the wall for an effect and some debris fell into Dylan’s eye. The director instead of having a medic come and interrupt the shoot, took it out himself.
Which would totally freak me out.
Dylan also wasn’t comfortable with with people touching their eyeball but now he is. Which leads me to believe that if I had something removed from my eye while I was suspended in the air, I too could possibly get used to things like contact lens application.
The cast has been pleasantly surprised by the fans of the film. Right at the start of production they were surprised that they had fans before the movie had even started shooting. They had two people show up the first night they were put up in a hotel and they took a picture with the cast who had not been expecting A fanbase that is very vocal on twitter and has websites and podcasts eagerly anticipating the movie release.
The Maze Runner movie comes out this Friday, September 19th. I recommend it and hope that you will go see it and enjoy it.
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
Thanks to Katie @pocketofgreen on twitter for sharing her pictures.