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Wes Ball, Wyck Godfrey, Dylan O’Brien, and James Dashner talk the “crazy” elevator scene of ‘The Maze Runner’

August 15, 2013
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I had the chance to chat with James Dashner (author), Dylan O’Brien (actor who plays Thomas), Wes Ball (director), and Wyck Godfrey (producer) all about their upcoming adaptation of The Maze Runner! They revealed that Dylan O’Brien got pretty beat up while filming this movie, but he maintained composure and delivered an amazing performance. Wes Ball also talks about adapting the pivotal scene in the elevator, which he had a very specific vision for. Are you all excited to see the insane scene in the elevator? We discuss the short featurette that was shown during the Comic-Con Nerd HQ panel.

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.

“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!” – Wes Ball

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.

“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!” – Wyck Godfrey

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.

“They cared so deeply about each other and the relationships that they had with each other that when somebody dies in the movie, it’s like, real tears. It was really beautiful.” – Wyck Godfrey

I was really curious, actually. There’s a scene in it where Gally is crying. That’s something ­I can’t remember from the book. Can you tell me anything about that, or is it a secret?

Wyck Godfrey: The end. Gally struggles internally with what he’s about to do. I tell you what, these actors…you can see it, even just from the images. What really helps is when people come and really are committed to the story and care about it as much as your director and your author. Sometimes in fantasy films, it’s hard for actors to kind of really suspend their disbelief, and obviously, you [Dylan] probably deal with it on Teen Wolf all the time. But everyone came into this really believing it. They cared so deeply about each other and the relationships that they had with each other that when somebody dies in the movie, it’s like, real tears. It was really beautiful.

Wes Ball: It’s emotional. The thing is, we wanted it to be real. It’s in a fantasy movie; it’s real. The maze is real, the danger’s real, and we approached it that way.

Wyck Godfrey: We actually killed some of the actors for real. [laughs]


Click here to read part 1, and stay tuned for part 3!


Rama’s Screen and Fangirlish also were a part of this roundtable interview! What scenes from the movie are you most excited for?


Kimmy is a 21 year old nerdfighter who is the founder and editor-in-chief of Page to Premiere. When she's not writing about books and movies here or on her Hunger Games site called Mockingjay.net, she loves Tumblr-ing, eating sushi, drinking Thai iced tea, and being lazy with her cat Rue! She hopes to be a published author one day. You can follow her on Twitter at @kimmymary.