THE MAZE RUNNER Interview Continues with Wes Ball, Wyck Godfrey, Dylan O’Brien, and James Dashner

We posted part 1 of the interview with director Wes Ball, executive producer Wyck Godfrey, actor Dylan O’Brien, and author James Dashner, back in August, and here are highlights from the rest of that interview, done by Kimmy at Page to Premiere.

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At the panel yesterday, we saw the clip of you coming up in the box. You were saying that you had a very specific idea of how you wanted that to look. Can you talk about how you decided how that was going to work?

Wes Ball: Well you didn’t get to see it in the box, so wait til you see the trip up. The trip up is going to be very cool. It’s the first thing I ever pre-­vized. It’s an experience; it’s like a ride. It’s like a ride at Disney World or something. The lights go off, and suddenly, “Boom!” It comes on, and the thing comes to life, and you find yourself in this crazy world. He suddenly wakes up, like, “What the hell? Where am I?” I don’t explain anything at all, there’s just this crazy sound; it’s going faster and faster and faster. It’s rising, like, “Where the hell is it taking me?” So finally, it just hits this buzzer, and then it hits its stop, and then, “Boom!” The doors open up, and we are in the movie. It’s gonna be a very cool experience. I don’t even want credits up front. I just want them to start, and then, “Boom!” We’re in the box with Thomas as the audience, and experiencing it through his eyes.

James Dashner: Which perfectly captured the vision of the book and how the books go. I mean, he was the perfect choice to direct this movie. I think this is historic that we’re talking about this, because like six or seven months before they even started filming, he sent me his concept video for that scene he just described, and I knew that he was the best.

Wes Ball: It’s very dark, you know, it’s rattly and rusty. It’s cool, it’s neat. I’m really excited to get into that. But obviously we couldn’t build a 500 foot tall elevator shaft, so there was a lot of CG. But Dylan got beat up pretty good in that elevator cage.

Wyck Godfrey: Yeah, unfortunately, we built the cage out of like real rusty metal. So Dylan’s shooting over and over again, like trying to get out of this thing, and literally his hands are bleeding. We’re like, “Oh yeah, maybe we should have probably treated this. That’s all right, it’s just Dylan. Don’t worry about it.”

Wes Ball: Fortunately, by that point, that was like day 40 of 43. Suck it up man, let’s go.

Dylan O’Brien: At that point we were all the way in, I didn’t care.

Wes Ball: [points at a scar on Dylan’s arm] That’s probably from Maze Runner!

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, my moles got ripped off! I have these two signature moles ­ not signature, like [laughs] as if anyone else would know them! Like I always remember seeing these two moles here. They were very much a part of my arm, right here. They just got ripped off, one day!

James Dashner: It’s in a baggie, I’ll sell it on Ebay. [laughs]

Wes Ball: I did a proper job of beating up Dylan O’Brien in this movie.

Dylan O’Brien: I wish my back was actually still all the way bad from the last day of shooting, because it would have been the funniest to just come here and lift my shirt…and…

Wyck Godfrey: “Look at what they did to me!”

Wes Ball: He always did it with a smile.

James Dashner: You did see those incredible images of him in the box, and I love that. Gally jumping down! That’s just going to be such a cool scene.

Dylan O’Brien: Day 1, Greenie.

James Dashner: You were probably watching the screen and not me, but my eyes were all moist.

Wes Ball: We only showed like 10%, man. A lot of the big stuff I can’t show because it’s all the effects.

Read the rest of Part 2 of the interview here.

Can you talk about the hero’s journey or the writing structure of your book?

James Dashner: Sometimes it’s hard for me to articulate the process going into writing. Normally, I just
follow my instincts. But I have loved movies and have loved books my whole life, so I think it’s just in my brain. But Thomas definitely goes through the hero’s journey, and I wanted the reader to experience that with him, which is why the first 30 or 40 pages are kind of disoriented; you don’t know what’s going on.

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Wyck Godfrey: You should talk about how you view the movie as an extended metaphor.

Wes Ball: It’s kind of corny, but I always did think about it as… The way we approach Thomas arriving in this world, to come up almost naked and soaking wet and confused and disoriented and you don’t know where you are, it’s very much like being born. So they’re spit out into this world with no identity or who they are and all this stuff. There’s this idea that you’re born into this place ­ you can call it a house ­ surrounded by walls. They are your protection. They’re there to keep you in this place. Everything outside those walls is dangerous: don’t go out there. It’s like your parents telling you you can’t go outside the door and all that stuff. So I think this movie is very much around that period in your life when you’re ready to leave the nest, essentially, and face the dangers that are beyond this world: those monsters, the different paths you can possibly take outside the walls… So that kind of metaphor, I think, is an obvious one.

And then I think it’s movie two, where I always kind of saw it as essentially, you’re going into high school or you’re going to college. You’re kind of on your own and get into your own trouble now, but there’s still a little bit of that, if you know the stories at all, there’s still a little bit of that parental, sort of adult supervision over top of you. And then the third movie’s really about, you know, you’re on your own to figure out your own life, and all that stuff.

So, I kind of broke it up in my mind. That was kind of the journey, I guess, that we would take on this movie. We didn’t do anything heavy­handed with it, but it’s good to have in the back of your mind what you’re trying to tap into, you know. There’s a lot of stuff with like, when Thomas comes up, the classic things you go through when you first go into high school or whatever it is. There’s a lot of those sort of familiar emotions. It’s kind of obvious stuff.

Can you talk about the development process at all?

Wyck Godfrey: I came in even after Wes was on it, and he really should speak to the development, because he and his best friend from college ­ T.S. Nowlin ­ kind of rehashed the script, and then I was a part of it for the last 8 weeks or 3 months, really. But it was fun. We kind of took the script apart while we were on location and rebuilt it, and the studio was really great about giving us the power. I think the one thing that I tried to do when I came in was make Wes understand how important the source material was.

Wes Ball: Make sure, because you can kind of veer away and not know it. He would always be like, “Remember this, and remember this scene!” And you’re like, “Oh yeah, you’re right! Okay, we’ll put that back in.”

Wyck Godfrey: And that would be the thing, is just making sure… You can expand upon the book, but you also want to get those scenes that you know the audience loves and get them right. That was really what I tried to help with. But Wes deserves most of the credit in terms of really creating the script.

Read the rest of part 3 of the interview here.

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After you read the book, or after you read the script, is there a scene that stood out and you’re like, “I’m really excited to shoot that scene.”

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, so many.

Wes Ball: There are some very, very cool scenes in the movie.

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, so many cool scenes.

Wes Ball: It almost seems like at least every couple days, Dylan would say, “Oh, I’m so looking forward to this scene. I’ve been thinking about it since I first read it.” You can tell. There’s like an excitement, and Dylan wants to do a really good job on this one scene. And what surprised me is it wasn’t the physical stuff. The stuff you really liked was all the quiet little one-­on-­one with the actors scenes. They were some of the best scenes in the movie, I think, surprisingly.

James Dashner: I’ve got to say, that scene from where you literally did not say anything, and it was powerful. You don’t even know what scene I’m talking about. I don’t want to say what it is.

Wyck Godfrey: Dylan’s really great when he doesn’t speak. ­

Wes Ball: He’s best when he doesn’t talk, I’ll tell you that right now.

James Dashner: I think that when he speaks, he’s even better.

Wes Ball: There are just a lot of cool scenes in this movie. Especially the trip up! It’s a cool scene. You know, meeting Chuck for the first time, it’s a cool scene. Getting the tour by Alby, that moment of going through the walls and the doors close, all these little cool moments, and we really try to milk them for all they’re worth. It was a lot of fun. It’s really, really cool.

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The Glade was actually a place, but then the maze was on a blue screen. Can you talk about the experience of shooting both different parts?

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, it was so funny because we started out in the Glade for four weeks, and we had this like crazy environment where everything was…

Wes Ball: Rustic.

Dylan O’Brien: Yeah, geographically… It was so real, and down and dirty, and sweaty, and gross, and snakey, and spiders, and forest flies, and everything. We were in the dirt. And we would have this huge blue screen that looked so tall all over the place, and we would just put that wherever we needed. And then we went to the stage, and all of a sudden, it’d just be like me in a land of blue. Maybe a wall or something. Or we’d be in a parking lot with just a giant blue screen on the side of the highway. That was awesome.

Wes Ball: It’s a weird exposition. Both the shifts and the location and worlds that we do in this movie. I don’t think I even really understood it when I first went into this thing. It’s like, we go from this rustic prairie, this environment of the Glade, ­to almost ancient stone walls and concrete to the WICKED labs. And then, out to the desert area…it’s weird. We just cross through these weird juxtapositions. It’s fun. It was like every day, we’re doing something crazy and new. It made for a good time.

Read the rest of part 4 of the interview here.

There’s more of the interview with Page to Premiere interview in part 2part 3, and part 4.

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Dylan O’Brien, James Dashner, Wes Ball, and Wyck Godfrey Talk Maze Runner

Page to Premiere has a great new interview with Dylan O’Brien, James Dashner, Wes Ball, and Wyck Godfrey all about what went into building the world of The Maze Runner movie!

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How did you find the Glade?

Wes Ball:
They took me out – the location guys. We found this perfect little square plot of land that was surrounded by trees – almost a perfect line – and the trees are up almost 80 feet tall. Then there’s this little bit of forest in there with hills and swamp and all that stuff, and there’s grass around the treeline. So you can go out to this place, the little area that we found, and imagine the tree line as the walls that surround the Glade and the forest that the boys kind of live in and create their own little village community in. We basically picked that area and then started building. We built all the structures, we built it all in place, so you could actually draw a real map of the real Glade and all these little paths that eventually got worn down as the construction guys kept going back and forth from place to place. It just became the Glade. It was fantastic.

Wyck Godfrey: The cool part is that we did build the huge concrete doors, you know, the hydraulics of it. That had to really be interacted with; constantly, they’re looking through the doors. That was the biggest part of the build.

Wes Ball: And it was only 30 feet tall, so we’re gonna extend it in CG up to 100 and something feet. But for all the close-up stuff when, you know, we’ve got the big group around the doors, you see it; it’s real. It’s cool.

James Dashner: You guys could imagine how cool it was for me to visit and see my book come to life. They did a fantastic job with this.


See the full interview here!

Exclusive Comic-Con Interview with THE MAZE RUNNER Author James Dashner

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James Dashner was at Comic-Con this year for his 2nd venture into the crazy convention.  I was able to snag a few minutes with him to talk about The Maze Runner movie and a little bit about the main character in his upcoming book, The Eye of Minds.

I attended the Maze Runner Conversation for a Cause even at the Nerd HQ the day before, so I was fortunate enough to be one of the 250 people that were there to see the raw footage of the movie, as well as ask Dylan O’Brien the first question during the panel.

The Maze Runner at NerdHQ 2013James did note before we got started on the interviewing part, that he actually had more questions directed to him than to Dylan (His agent told him that most questions would probably be fielded to the Teen Wolf star.  But this was a Maze Runner panel, after all).

What I’ve found about James is that he’s just an all around amazing (fan)guy, with a fondness for movies and the word “amazing”, and he’s probably one of my favorite authors to have ever chatted with.

In regards to the raw footage that was shown during the panel, he apparently was just as floored as I was, and probably everyone else, too.

Oh man! I saw about half of what you guys saw about a week before you did, so half- this is a terrible way to put this… it’s like the thing Bilbo says in Lord of the Rings- half of what you saw, I was seeing for the first time.

[Don’t worry, I got what he meant.]

So, sitting up there, I don’t know if people could tell, but I got emotional.  I was fighting back tears.  The fact that it was so raw, it’s literally just the initial filming – there’s no special effects whatsoever yet, except they did add the wall to that one scene.  I just- it’s just blowing me away.  I cannot believe how much they’ve captured my vision.

So, was it as you expected or more than you expected as far as how it look?  Because to me it was more than what I had imagined.

That’s an interesting way to put it, because it is more than I imagined, which, this sounds dumb, but I mean that is obviously a good thing.  It’s almost like, I get this feeling that the movie is going to be better than the book.  (we both laugh at the prospect)  I’m so thrilled with it, it’s like his vision for this movie is just incredible.

I, like you, was flipping out over the raw footage of The Maze Runner.  I seriously almost cried.  I don’t cry during trailers, as much as I love the books, but something about the way that the actors portrayed the characters, there was not a lot of dialogue in that footage, but what you saw was the emotion.

You just nailed what struck me.  I have yet to see, on film, a word of dialogue because they haven’t done sound editing yet.  Everything has just been footage with music added, which is amazing because I have seen more emotion and acting and feeling and all that without any dialogue.  I can’t imagine when they add the dialogue.  I have a really strong feeling that this movie is going to be special.

Being that James had only visited the set twice and had only spent a day and a half there during actual filming, it probably wasn’t fair to ask for his opinion of the actors’ performances, but he did note a couple of people that stuck out for him while he was there, and what stuck out to him in general.

Well, first of all, it blew me away on two different fronts.  I love movies, as anyone knows who follows me, so just to be on a movie set and see them actually filming scenes – by itself, was just special.  Like, crazy amazing for me.  And then you throw in this little thing that it’s my book, it’s like a double whammy.  I almost couldn’t handle it.

tmr-gally-character-chat-croppedI was really struck by Will Poulter [Gally], mainly because he’s the one that I saw do more of an individual thing, and it was pretty brief, but it was amazing.  And then the majority of what I saw was actually Patricia Clarkson, the Oscar nominee who’s playing Ava Paige.  I cannot overstate how lucky we were to get her into the movie, so her appearance in the first movie will be pretty brief, but absolutely spectacular.  She really adds a lot, and seeing her film her scenes was… amazing.  How many times have I used the word ‘amazing’?  I need to think of another one.

I suggested various comparable adjectives, which we chuckled over and to which he’d said he’d use in the future.

Read more on the interview after the jump!

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THE MAZE RUNNER Conversation for a Cause Photos at Nerd HQ

There were several events that I could’ve attended on the first full day of Comic-Con, some of fandoms that we cover, but unfortunately, since many of the events that I wanted to attend happened to take place at the same time, I had to choose one, thus I chose to go to an off-site event at Nerd HQ.

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(l. to r.) Author James Dashner, executive producer Wyck Godfrey, Dylan O’Brien, and director Wes Ball

20th Century Fox didn’t include The Maze Runner into their lineup at the Convention Center, so it was such a wonderful thing that the people at Nerd HQ were able to gather some kind of presence for this movie.  Luckily, Dylan O’Brien, the lead actor in the movie, was already going to be at Comic-Con for another panel (Teen Wolf), and author James Dashner was set to attend as well, it was probably easy enough to get director Wes Ball and executive producer Wyck Godfrey to join in (however, I should note that I really don’t know if it was as easy as I say it is to get them to come as they could be very busy with other projects or just post-production of the movie as filming just wrapped up.)

The Maze Runner at NerdHQ 2013

Dylan O’Brien seemed very comfortable as being the only actor of the panel as many were there to see him, however, James did field most of the questions.  The highlight, of course, was that the 250 of us that paid to get into the panel were extremely fortunate enough to catch the raw footage of the movie!  They even explained to us that not even the studio execs have seen this footage and that Wes had spent the days driving from Baton Rouge, LA to San Diego, CA editing this footage to make it presentable to us.

The Maze Runner at NerdHQ 2013

I cannot say enough good things about this footage.  Out of everything that I’ve seen at Comic-Con, in regards to footage and clips and trailers, The Maze Runner exceeded them all, and that is truly saying something, especially when this wasn’t even an official part of Comic-Con.  Hardly any dialogue was used in the footage, but the emotion in the characters’ faces, the intensity of the scenes, and the imagery that was shown were all beyond my expectation.  I am extremely excited to see more and more of this movie as we get closer to the release date of February 14, 2014.

 

You can check out the livestream video of the conversation here, and yes, I’m the one who asks the first question.

For more pictures from the Maze Runner panel, check them out on my Flickr.

Video: Conversation for a Cause With THE MAZE RUNNER Cast and Creators at SDCC

If you missed the The Nerd Machine’s “Conversation for a Cause” panel with the the cast and creators of The Maze Runner–James Dashner, Wyck Godfrey, Wes Ball, and Dylan O’Brien– you can watch it right here, right now.  Pay close attention to the 16:22 mark where The Fandom‘s very own Natasha asks the first question at the event!

Pictures of THE MAZE RUNNER Cast Pictures on Last Day of Filming

Check out these cool images of The Maze Runner cast from the final day of filming, exclusive on Fangirlish.  From before the first day of filming to the last day of filming, it looks like they had a positively memorable time together.  Those pictured include Dylan O’Brien, producer Wyck Godfrey, Blake Cooper, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, and director Wes Ball.

Also, for those going to be in San Diego this week, there are still tickets available to the Maze Runner Conversation for a Cause panel at NerdHQ!  The seats are $22 each and the limit is 2 per purchase!  You don’t have to have a badge for Comic-Con to go to this event, so click here to get a seat and see Dylan O’Brien, Wes Ball, and Wyck Godfrey along with author James Dashner answer fan questions!

THE MAZE RUNNER To Hold Conversation for a Cause Panel During Comic-Con Weekend

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Even though Fox hasn’t yet released the details on their panel, which takes place on Saturday, July 20th, 4:15pm-5:45pm in Hall H of the San Diego Convention Center, we do know that at least one The Maze Runner cast member will be there to appear in another panel, as well as author James Dashner, appearing in a book panel.

And just recently announced earlier today was The Nerd Machine‘s popular Conversations for a Cause event, in which some people/groups from Comic-Con will be spending some extra time on a panel hosted by The Nerd Machine to raise funds for the charity organization, Operation Smile.

One of the conversation events is The Maze Runner, and the guests will be director Wes Ball, executive producer Wyck Godfrey, author James Dashner, and actor Dylan O’Brien, who plays Thomas in the film.

So, if you’re going to Comic-Con, and you’re interested in going to this event, here are the details:

Where: Petco Park
When: Thursday, July 18th at 4pm Pacific Time
Cost: $22 per person/ticket, limited to 2 tickets per order
Tickets go on sale: Thursday, July 11th at 12pm Pacific Time
Where to purchase ticket: BrownPaperTickets.com
Hosted by: The Nerd Machine