We got together with the cast of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials to talk a little about their experience working on the franchise and an in-depth look at their life on set. Our time together provided what was probably the most relaxed and fun interview I’ve ever done. With that being said, I wanted to have you listen to the audio, but there’s way too much laughing and fun to get any substantial information out of it. So, below is a transcription of our chat with Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Giancarlo Esposito and Rosa Salazar (who happens to have the most adorable dog named Mindy, in case you wanted to know). Take a look!
My first question is for Giancarlo. You’ve played villains before, and very well—do you find yourself preferring those types of roles or the ones where you sort of sweep in at the end and save the day?
- Giancarlo: I love every role that I play if I can put my whole heart and soul into it. I was anxious to see if I could really pull off doing something other than the villain, which I’ve done several times in the past 3 years; with one little break on Once Upon a Time, playing the nice guy. I kind of like being the guy who sweeps in and saves the day. It’s a great change of pace. When Wes [Ball] wanted me to do this, I needed to know whether he wanted Jorge to be funny or humorous because it’s usually the Latino or African American who has to carry a sort of comedy in the film. I thought if I could make this guy into someone that you just like and aren’t completely unafraid of, he could be unpredictable, but still maintain that likability. Everything in this film is earned; trust is earned. All of the film is about loyalty being earned and those are all family things that we’ve all grown up with. I like the Jorge asks all those questions like ‘Where’d you come from?’ ‘Where are you going?’– he’s pretty forward. So when he finds out that these “Gladers” are on the same page as he is, he wants to help them.
A lot of franchises are splitting up the last book into two films, however Maze Runner is doing its own thing and not splitting up the final film. What are your opinions on that?
- Dylan: I LOVE IT! Because I hate the idea of splitting it into two and basically just milking it for all that it’s worth. We’re trying to do this as old school and throwback as we can. Wes wants to direct all 3 movies, which is also really rare because a lot of franchises these days have someone new. Wes is taking this on and it’s going to be a straight up sci-fi trilogy. That’s what we all wanted to do.
- Rosa: The biggest travesty of all to fans is creating the structure that is not in the books and adding even more things to substantiate having enough material to split it into two parts.
How does it feel to watch the completed product of your work once it’s finished and ready for release?
- Dylan: Oh, so great!
- Kaya: I find it terrifying.
- Dylan: Well, of course, but it’s a mix of things.
- Kaya: I hate it. It makes me feel sick. Like, whenever I work on something, I lose a bit of my soul to it. I put so much of myself into it that I end up being so protective of it. Because so much has gone into it that it terrifies me for someone to judge it or misunderstand it. I get this insane thing where I complete a job and no one ever gets to see it—which makes no sense at all [laughs] because the reason we do these movies is so people can enjoy them! For some reason in my mind, it petrifies me. I can’t even watch it with my friends or family because I feel like they’re gonna feel obligated to like it. I just can’t deal with it.
What strengths and weaknesses do you guys think your characters have?
- Rosa: My character is very good at compartmentalizing. First of all, she was just throw out into the Scorch and had to fend for herself, until she met Jorge. I think she’s pretty damn savvy because you have to be clever to survive it. Also, she’s able to compartmentalize her doubts and hopes when Jorge tells her something. When he says we have to do something, she’s like fine, but I still feel this way, but I’m going to listen to you. Over the course of the movie, she starts to consider all things and open up a little more.
- Dylan: I think Thomas is so good and strong and smart and courageous. He just believes so much and takes pride in the hope he’s providing. I also think those are some weaknesses, because he can get a little close-minded and strong-headed about his beliefs and his plan of action. It’s more of a flaw than a weakness, but that’s what I love about him, that he’s flawed. He is human and has his own fears and doubts.
- Kaya: She’s very caring. Teresa arrives in the Glade and she’s there for a day and immediately just trusts all of these people. She helps them survive and escape. In this movie, you see that but also the more vulnerable side to her where she remembers what it was like to see death and devastation and loss. I think she’s a lot more afraid in this movie than previously.
- Giancarlo: Some of Jorge’s strengths are that he is a warrior and a rebel. He’s going to do things his way and he’s found a way to do them in a way that has kept his people safe for a period of time. Another strength is that he’s hopeful, he believes that there is this “right arm” where people care about each other and show compassion for one another. One of his possible weaknesses is that he’s headstrong and skeptical. But in the world of “The Scorch” you have to be smart. He has probably lost and loved so he doesn’t trust and the young Gladers allow him to develop trust, even though as far as Jorge is concerned, you can’t trust anyone. The movie is really steeped in relationship and family that you create and have support you.
- Rosa: Can I just say one thing about Teresa? I think that if you were to get the film from a different perspective, let’s say from Ava Paige’s, she’d think that Teresa is doing something very valiant and courageous. I do think that it’s incredibly courageous to go against the people you love.
- Kaya: Can you tell everyone to stop calling me a bitch on Twitter then?
- Rosa: I started that! I thought it was sarcastic.
- Kaya: Well, you can call me a bitch, I’m your bitch.
*INSERT INSANE LOVE FOR ROSA SALAZAR AND KAYA SCODELARIO HERE*
Being that you, Rosa and Giancarlo, were newcomers to the cast, was there any sort of hazing involved or any pranks to kind of welcome you?
- Giancarlo: Nah, they missed out! They were too nice!
- Rosa: My own torture, in fact, I hazed myself by learning how to play Mario Kart. Because when you start learning how to play Mario Kart, you’re so damn depressed because you’re so terrible. And Kaya was always like “I win! AGAIN!” and I was like “I wanna do it! I wanna win!”
- Dylan: But it’s the sweetest hazing ever! Like, “come on, come play Mario Kart with us.”
Were any of you hesitant to joining the Maze Runner franchise due to how much of your time it would take up?
- Rosa: Absolutely not!
- Kaya: Yes, I was terrified, because I read a quote from Keira Knightly about the Pirates movies and how they had taken 5 years of her life and that she really regretted it. There is a moment where you’re like, I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow! I never have a set plan and the thought of knowing what I would be doing for the next 5 years kind of freaked me out.
- Rosa: It kind of gave me stability though. Like, ugh, thank god! I was like SWEET!
- Kaya: But that’s because we love everyone. Imagine if you absolutely hated everyone and you had to spend the next 5 years of your life with them.
- Dylan: Well, you sign a contract before you even get the part, so as you’re doing that, you don’t sit there and say ‘well, do I really want this part?’ it’s more of a ‘Hell yeahhhh!’.
- Rosa: Well, I met Dylan first and I was like ‘this guy is so cool! If everyone else is as cool as him, I have no qualms about joining the cast.’
- Kaya: Where is this training camp?
- Rosa: There’s no training camp.
- Dylan: We kind of just jogged as a group for a while and did some training in the gym to really just get our legs ready. There’s a lot of repetition when you’re shooting, but at the same time we’re not super athletes and neither are our characters so it works out that our training was sort of minimal for the physical aspects of the movie. The stunts were nothing major or insane so it always works better for us to do them all.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is currently in theaters.