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The Scorch Trials Cast Talks Maze Runner Sequel

Sep 16, 2015

By: Lynn Barker

In Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials it’s out of the frying pan into the fire! The young people caught in the Maze thought they had been through the worst and escaped. What is waiting for them outside is much worse. In this sequel to Maze Runner based on the popular novels by James Dashner, the survivors search for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as W.C.K.D. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate, post apocalypse landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD's vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

The Gladers at the WCKD partyThe Gladers at the WCKD partyCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Kaya Scodelario (Teresa), Thomas Brody-Sangster (Newt), Ki Hong Lee (Minho) and Dexter Darden (Frypan) gathered to tell journalists about the exciting new film.

Q: What scene were you most intrigued to see on screen?

  • Dylan: I was most intrigued to see how our party scene would look. I was very interested to see but I was a little worried. I remember really wondering how that would go and I remember being blown away by what Wes (Ball, director) did with it. Even on the day coming away from it when we were shooting it I thought it looked really cool.
  • Ki Hong Lee: Yeah, that and the upside down scene. I wasn’t excited to shoot it but I was excited to see how it was going to look. Wes sent an e-mail out to all of us “Start hanging upside down” and of course, none of us did it. Then we get there and we were all actually getting hoisted up at the same time and hanging upside down. It was a bit brutal to go through. I think the longest time was four and a half minutes.
  • Dylan: Just over five.
  • Kaya: That’s ridiculous.
  • Ki Hong: Literally upside down.
  • Dylan: Well, it was during Kaya’s coverage so I was just kind of passing out.

Hanging upside downHanging upside downCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: You guys are running around in sand for much of the film. Where was the weirdest place you found sand on your body?

  • Kaya: On the back of my knees and I was wearing jeans through the whole movie so I don’t know how that happened but there was sand on the back of my knees.
  • Dylan: I have a weird thumbnail and because it’s weird things stay in there for a while. I think I still have some dirt from this movie in it. It’s weird because it got slammed in a trunk when I was nine and never grew back the same. It has little creases. I’ve always thought it looked like Boba Fett.

Q: You seemed to have more practical, on set stunts and things there to react to in this movie rather than green screen. Does that help augment your performance?

  • Darden: Yeah. I think Wes did a great job of giving us things to actually react to. Albuquerque, in general, is just beautiful to shoot in and to see. We don’t get to see all the buildings behind. That’s mostly CGI but they did of good job of bringing in false rocks and those kinds of things. So we had a lot of live things to react to and that was really cool. But, even in the first Maze Runner, when we were inside the Maze and when we’re running was CGI’d but the actual walls that moved and opened, those were real. Wes had those built. They were enhanced height-wise but everything else, we had real things to react to.
  • Dylan: On this one, we definitely had more practical stuff to work with be also had a lot more visual effects involved too.

Q: What are some of the stunts you are most proud of?

  • Dex: Sand dune running. Running up that sand dune, that’s really us. That’s not CGI or special effects or stunt doubles, that’s us running up those sand dunes.

Thomas and pals sneak through the ScorchThomas and pals sneak through the ScorchCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: Did you guys have boot camp training?

  • Ki Hong: We went two weeks prior to shooting and trained with stunt coordinators and we ran five miles. We would do sprints.
  • Kaya: Huh? I didn’t run five miles.
  • Ki Hong: We would run up the hills and stuff like that. Then tell them Dex what was the altitude like?
  • Darden: Shooting in Albuquerque, it’s a mile-high city so 6,000 feet above sea level. At times 7,600 feet, 8,000 feet so it’s hard to get oxygen. Your muscles get tight and you’ve got to stay hydrated. (talking about carb loading) I’d literally eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner, brown rice, yellow rice. You can’t discriminate against the rice. Unity!  No rice sits in the back seat of this bus.

Q: Were there any injuries?

  • Ki Hong: We had minor scrapes and bruises.
  • Kaya:  Ki Hong had surgery. Don’t downplay it, dude. You are amazing.
  • Dylan: He had an appendectomy. He was tasered and then he had to be dragged off.

Q: You got hurt on the first one and this one too?

  • Ki Hong:  I guess I’m just injury prone.

Thomas and buddies in the ScorchThomas and buddies in the ScorchCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: Dylan, you had injured your wrist and came in (to do the movie) with that?

  • Dylan: Yeah, I had injured it a few weeks earlier playing softball because that’s what I love to do. Yeah, I sprained my wrist and kept reinjuring it on “Scorch (Trials),” which was annoying. I wanted to randomly punch something…with the other wrist.

Q: There is one line where Teresa mentions Thomas (Dylan) got taller than her?

  • Kaya: You know what was cool? We wrote that. We wanted to add a moment of humanity. We just wanted to smile at each other. So much of our relationship is based on having to survive and get out. We wanted to just take a second and show a bit of love to each other and I think it’s such a beautiful way of doing it, like innocent little kids meeting for the first time.
  • Dylan: And her being taller than me. (when they first got to WCKD).
  • Kaya: Yeah. That was us.

Escape from WCKD headquartersEscape from WCKD headquartersCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: Cool. Coming into this sequel, can you talk about the burden of leadership on Thomas and are there any parallels, Dylan, to your leadership of this cast?

  • Dylan: He’s struggling at this point in that he’s still trying to lead and doesn’t want to show anyone what’s really going on with him. He’s full of doubt and regret at this point and just questioning himself. Everything was on his shoulders in his mind. He made that choice and now, the fact that he could have led them wrong is killing him but he still has to lead. He still has to be strong and that’s a difficult conflict inside of him. That’s how I think of it. 
  • With all of us, we have a great group, a great energy and a great story that we all love to tell every time out. So, I don’t think there is any lack of that. It comes from all directions. Everyone leads on this movie and that’s why we get it done the way we do I guess. We’re all so proud of it at the end of the day.

Q: Thomas, in the first movie you said you put a rock in your shoe to help with your character’s limp. Did you do anything like that in this?

  • Thomas: It took me a while to realize which side my limp was on (laughter). I believe it’s on the left. I had laces this time and big boots so it was too hard to stick (the rock) in. I didn’t bother. I just acted it.

Ponytail, Thomas and Brenda plan the next movePonytail, Thomas and Brenda plan the next moveCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: For the first movie, Ki Hong wrote the runners’ manual and the runners’ prayer. So, all of you, if you had to write an actors’ manual and an actors’ prayer what would be in there?

  • Kaya: Don’t do it!
  • Ki Hong: Stay passionate.
  • Kaya: Don’t get on Twitter.
  • Dex: Take risks, never give up.
  • Dylan: Never surrender.

Q: How was working with Wes Ball as director again?

  • Ki Hong:  He’s the kid in the candy store and he’s having a blast and when you see him so enthusiastic from the beginning of the day to the end that inspires us as actors to give him 110 percent every time. So, it’s a real inspiration. We love working with him.
  • Dylan: It’s never a burden for him, how much he works. He doesn’t stop. As actors it’s so much better. If I could work with a guy like that every time, it’s so much better than with a guy who wants to go home. As a director, I’m sorry but you can’t do that ever. You can’t be some guy standing around going “Come on we’ve gotta get outta here. Come on, let’s get it”. And Wes, you’ve gotta rip the camera out of the guy’s hand and that’s what you want.
  • Dex: The cool thing about Wes is because he’s so cool with special effects, everybody thinks he’s great with just the big moments be he’s also great with those small intimate moments that mean a lot to us as actors, as castmates. I remember there was a campfire scene and we’d just gone through something and Wes came over to me and gave me a quick little pep talk before I had to get all emotional and it was really small and intimate but it meant a lot to me as an actor and a person.
  • Kaya: Especially getting the opportunity to do a second movie with him, he knows how we individually work as actors. He knows how to approach us. He knows what our strengths are. He knows which ones of us prefer having the first shot or the last shot and that’s so valuable to have a director who just knows you. And, with me, especially, I struggle with directors sometimes. I’m so particular about a lot of how I work and Wes just knows it. (To Dylan) With our big scene, he was so cool. He was like “What do you need? Do it how you need to do it and we’ll make it work”. Especially on huge movies like this, you don’t get that opportunity. It’s like “Go here. Do this. Right, next” and he takes the time to make it personal. What is it? “Pain is temporary. Film is forever”. That’s our motto now. 
  • Ki Hong: Didn’t he steal that from someone? I think it was (James) Cameron or (Steven) Spielberg.
  • Kaya: Don’t break my heart. He lied to me. Good, then I’m not going to get it tattooed now. I thought that was his.  He says it so nicely.
  • Ki Hong: It’s what he lives by. 

Young director Wes BallYoung director Wes BallCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Q: Speaking of pain, what’s the most badass moment for each of you in the film?

  • Ki Hong: Knee to the chest is badass.
  • Dex: Baseball slides, hanging upside down
  • Kaya: The bars breaking, for sure.
  • Dylan: This is not even a moment really, it’s just what I love to do on set. Rosa’s getting me out of there and they’re shooting at us and they’re shooting all these bullets through the window as we’re running by. It was really scary. I didn’t understand how because the guys have paintball guns and they have these zerks that they shoot and go pssst when they hit it’s like a paintball hitting a glass. You can only see our shadows going through and they were basically just going to shoot a bunch and miss us. I didn’t understand that I wasn’t going to get hit so it was scary for me and I remember looking at the shot afterward and geeking out.
  • Dex: That lightning scene came out really cool too when we were running from the lightning storm and Minho gets shot. That looked really cool because on the day we tried shooting a couple and Wes was telling us what to react to and I didn’t think it was coming off as real and natural as he wanted and we did two takes where they would go off at random and they were little fireworks but when they go off you hear that pop and can have a natural reaction to that was really cool.
  • Kaya: You were like “Oh s**t!”
  • Dex: Yeah, I was like a screaming little girl.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials PosterMaze Runner: The Scorch Trials PosterCourtesy of 20th Century Fox

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is in theaters September 18th!