Posted on 18 September 2015.
After the Gladers escape the maze in “The Maze Runner,” it is time for them to see what life is like outside of the maze. One of the most anticipated sequels of the year, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is about Thomas (Dylan O’ Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and the other Gladers trying to escape the corporation WCKD and face life in the scorch. Based on James Dashner’s best-selling novel, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” premieres in theaters Sept. 18 and stars O’Brien, Scodelario, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosa Salazar, and more.
Managing editor Carolina Bou was one of five people to participate in a round table interview with the cast at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Brickell on Sept. 14.
Q: Giancarlo, you played a villain before. Do you have a certain preference to villainous roles or the type that just come in and save the day?
Giancarlo: I love every role that I play if I can put my whole heart and soul to it, I love them equally. I was anxious to see if I can pull off something other than the villain, having done it a few times in the last few years. I kind of like being the guy who swoops in and saves the day. It’s a change of pace, and when Wes [Ball, the director] wanted me to do this he kind of had wanted Jorge to be funny or humorous and I was wondering about that because it’s always the Latino or the African-American who has to carry comedy in a film, and I thought “if I could make this guy into a guy that you just like, but who you’re not completely unafraid of, he could be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to be likable too. I really like that Jorge asks the questions “where did you come from, where are you going, and what can you do for me,” and he’s pretty straightforward. And when he finds that out he starts to believe that these Gladers are on the same page as he is in terms of hoping and knowing somewhere that there is a better world out there and he wants to be a part in helping find that.
Q: Many young adult franchises are splitting the last film into two parts (Hunger Games, Divergent, etc.) but the Maze Runner is doing it’s own thing and not splitting, so what is your opinion on that?
Dylan: I love it, because I hate the idea of trying to milk it, basically for what it’s worth. I love that we’re trying to do this as old school and throwback as we can, not for the appeal but it’s just in everyone’s taste who’s involved. Wes [Ball], the director, he wants to helm all three movies and that’s also really rare too. Now, franchises are going to have someone maybe take over and do the second and third but it changes so much. Wes will do all three of these films and it will be a straight up, old-school sci-fi trilogy and that’s what we all want to do.
Rosa: Yeah, the biggest travesty of all to fans is creating the structure that is definitely not in the book and adding more things to substantiate for splitting one book into two parts.
Q: How does it feel to watch the completed product of your work?
Kaya: I find it terrifying. I hate it, it makes me feel sick in the weirdest way. When I work, it’s something that I lose a bit of my soul to, I sacrifice a bit of myself for that character, for that job, and I love it. But then I’m so protective of it because so much has gone into it that I’m terrified of anyone else judging it or seeing it or misunderstanding it. I get this insane thing of wanting to complete a job and then no one ever watching it, which makes no sense because the reason we do these movies is so people would enjoy them and go to the cinema to watch them but for some reason in my mind it petrifies me. I can’t watch them with friends or with family.
Q: What do you think are some strengths and some weaknesses that your characters possess in the film?
Rosa: My character [Brenda] is very good at compartmentalizing. Well first of all, she was just thrown out into the Scorch and had to fend for herself until she met Jorge and that’s pretty clever. And also, she’s able to compartmentalize her doubts and hopes when Jorge tells her something. Over the course of the movie you see her considering all things opening up a little more and being more vulnerable, so that capacity for change.
Dylan: I think Thomas is so good and so strong and smart. He’s courageous and he believes so hard. He provides the hope and takes pride in providing that hope. I think all of that, though, could be what his weakness is. He can get very narrow minded in what he believes in, he can get very strong headed about his plan of action. It’s hard to call it a weakness, I guess it’s a human quality. He’s flawed, and that’s what I love about him so much too. He is flawed, he is human, he does feel these fears and he feels doubt.
Rosa: But it’s the humanity that makes the movie so compelling.
Dylan: Right, exactly. And what Brenda says to me in the tunnels “the hope is a dangerous thing,” it’s like how it affects others, too. He’s always striving to protect, but is he always doing the best thing to protect?
Kaya: Teresa to me is very brave, she’s very strong. She’s caring, I always think of her as very caring. She arrives at the Glade and she’s there for less than a day and immediately she trusts this group of people and she helps them survive, she helps them escape, she’s with them so fast and so quickly. That’s something that has always struck me as really brave about her. Continuing on in this movie you see that, but you also kind of see the more vulnerable side to her. I think she’s very afraid. I think she has a reason to support that, she remembers what it was like to be around and see that death and devastation and loss. I think she’s a lot more afraid in this movie than she was previously. But again it’s hard to say weakness, how can we say what our weakness is? Ultimately that can help her in the future, it’s just something that she’s going through in this one.
Giancarlo: Some of Jorge’s strengths are that he is a warrior and he is a rebel. And that’s part of the story that I really can relate to. He’s going to do it his way and he found a way to do it that has kept him safe for a period of time. I find the other strength he has is that he’s hopeful, and he is looking for that republic, that Right Arm, where people can live together and respect each other and have compassion for each other. One of his possible weaknesses is that he’s headstrong and that he’s also skeptical, but in the world of the Scorch you have to be smart, and to be skeptical about who’s coming at you and what they want is an important thing. He has probably lost at love, so he doesn’t trust, and I think that the young Gladers give him the opportunity to trust again in a human being, because in this ruthless, cutthroat world, who can you trust? As far as Jorge’s concerned he’s not going to trust anyone.
Q: Kaya, with Teresa really going against her loved ones in this and separating herself from the Gladers throughout the movie, was it hard for you on set? Did you have to separate yourself from the other cast members?
Kaya: In the last couple of years I have become slightly more method, not out of any conscious choice, it’s just how my emotions have evolved throughout my career. Any other job, yeah I probably would’ve. I probably would’ve distanced myself a little bit more, I would’ve stayed separate, I would’ve not hung out as much, but I can’t with these guys. These are my best friends, and this job is what keeps me going, because I know that I get to go to work with my best friends. I went there thinking “I should do that, but I know I’m not going to.” Also, we’re so lucky to do a job like this that is so social and wonderful and you get to meet cool, interesting people that you would never meet if you weren’t doing this job. I think it’s such a waste to segregate yourself from that, I think it’s silly.
Q: Rosa and Giancarlo, you guys are newcomers. Did the cast have any hazing for them or any initiation?
Kaya: What is hazing? I’ve heard the term.
Dylan: It’s a fraternity term.
Rosa: They test your allegiance by torturing you.
Giancarlo: They missed out. They were too nice.
Rosa: I hazed myself by playing Mario Kart, because when you play Mario Kart, you are so depressed because you’re terrible. I don’t care. If you’ve never played Wii, it’s awful, and Kaya’s like “I win! Again!” and I’m like “ugh!” and Kaya was coaching me, actually.
Kaya: I’d whisper in her ear. Keep it steady, turn the wheel!
Dylan: We all help each other. It’s the sweetest hazing ever like it’s just “come play Mario Kart with us.”
Q: Were any of you hesitant to join the Maze Runner franchise due to how much time it would take up?
Rosa: Absolutely not.
Kaya: Yes, I was terrified. Because I read a quote from Kiera Knightly about the Pirates [of the Caribbean] movies that they’d taken five years of a life and she really regretted it. There is a moment where you go “I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow.” I’ve lived my life like that though. I never had a set plan. The thought of knowing what I was going to do in five years time really freaked me out for a while.
Rosa: That gave me stability. I was like “sweet.”
Dylan: You sign a contract before you even get the part. So I’m obviously not going to go “wait a second, do I really want this part.”
Rosa: That’s why I asked to meet Dylan and I was like “if everyone else is as cool as this guy, I have no qualms about signing away a few years.”
Q: Did you all perform your own stunts? What was the preparation and training camp like?
Dylan: We kind of just jogged as a group every day for the first couple of weeks, and then we did some stuff in the gym, just to get your legs in shape really. The repetition, when it comes to the shooting we’re doing these things where we’re running, you have to do them over and over again. So you need to survive the days, but at the same time, we’re not super athletes, we’re not superheroes. It’s very much the spirit of the book, we’re kids you know? So it’s all good, we don’t have to go through this crazy training to do it. And the stunts too, it’s nothing majorly insane. It always works better if we all do them and we’re all getting to do as many of them as we can. It’s awesome; it’s really fun.
Read the full story