EXCLUSIVE: James Dashner talks ‘The Maze Runner’ death scenes, grievers, and what makes the story different

April 18, 2014

I had the chance to talk to The Maze Runner author James Dashner all about the film version of his book, which will hit theaters on September 19th, 2014. Yesterday I released the first part of this interview, which you can read HERE.

This is part two – don’t miss part one of this interview!

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Did you get to see any of the death scenes in the movie?
Oh – I almost just said a huge spoiler! The death at the end of the book – so everyone knows – they filmed that the day after I left. Which was good and bad. I really wanted to see it, but now I’m kind of happy that I’ll be able to experience it for the first time when I see it on the big screen. Well, wherever I’ll get to see it the first time. Everyone says that the actor, who sadly dies in that scene, did an absolutely amazing job.

Did you have a specific scene that you were looking forward to seeing on screen?
The scene I was definitely looking forward to was the one where Thomas sees Minho and Alby, stuck in the maze, and he makes the decision to run out just as the doors are closing. That scene – I’ve seen a little glimpse of it, but even before then I was most excited to see that one.

Did you have a scene that you were afraid of them warping in the wrong direction?
The thing that I was most terrified about them adapting, easily, is how they would do the grievers. I love that they aren’t going to show anyone the grievers until the movie comes out! I’m just telling you that they are absolutely spectacular. They will blow your socks off, and they will terrify you! The absolute highest hopes I could possibly have even dared to have, they’ve exceeded them. The grievers are amazing.

I’ve heard that Jacob Latimore’s role is somewhat expanded, can you tell us about what his role is?
Yeah! There is a character in the book named Jeff, who is med-jack, and it’s a very small part in the book. We were just really lucky to get Jacob Latimore, who is a rising star. So everyone agreed that we wanted him to be more present in the movie. He’s one of the Gladers that is present in most of the scenes. He actually has a really cool scene, but I won’t tell you what happens because it would be a spoiler! You’ll definitely get a good glimpse of him in the movie.


I know there is a lot of dystopian Young Adult out there right now, but what makes The Maze Runner different?
One is that the main protagonist is a male, a boy, while a lot of recent young adult book leads are girls. I think it’s just different – it’s not this future world where there’s an evil government, repressing the people and people are forced to do this, forced to do that. It’s more that the world is in really crappy shape, and these teenagers are thrown into this experiment. Instead of killing each-other, or competing against each-other, they have to work together to figure out a way to get out. Then, just the scope of the story behind the scenes is slowly revealed to the audience. I just think it has a special feel to it that makes it stand out. Especially, with how awesome the cast is, and the director. I don’t know, I just have a very good feeling about it!

Did you agree with the choice of bringing newcomer, Wes Ball, onto this project for his first feature film?
Absolutely! It’s just the perfect scenario, because Wes has been getting a ton of buzz for a few years. People know that he has a great vision, and he’s finally getting his first chance at a major film. It’s cool because he has every incentive in the world, potentially the start of his amazing career, and this is his chance to prove himself. So I have every confidence that he’s going to throw his whole heart and soul into it. Just seeing what he’s capable of now, first hand, I’m telling you he’s going to get a lot of kudos for this film.


I’m chatting with Dylan O’Brien, James Dashner, Wes Ball, and Will Poulter tomorrow!

Have questions for our Thomas, Gally, and the director/author of this story? Comment below!

Kimmy is a 22 year old nerdfighter and artist 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 creating original content at her magazine and production company JØLVIE, manically 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.

  • AngelNelsonSangster

    my question is :Do they were things about your characters that you play that you can relate to yourself ?

  • Sierra Carpenter

    My question is: if you had a theme song, what would it be? :)

  • Kim Ann

    My question for both Dylan and Will, “Was there a certain mind set you had while playing your role in The Maze Runner? And what is your favorite characteristic of the character you’re portraying?” That is all. Thank you! :D

    P.S. I’m shamelessly asking you to please congratulate Will for winning Best
    Breakthrough Performance on MTV Movie Awards for me. Yay! :) Much love from Philippines. xoxo

  • Nahomy Garcia

    Question to James Dashner: Are any of the characters from The Maze Runner series inspired from anyone in your family, a friend, etc? And I found out a few days ago that Teresa and Thomas are not going to be talking to each other in their minds. What did you think when you were told this and as readers we know that if there is a second movie it’s really going to affect The Scorch Trials so what do you think is going to be put to replace this power that Teresa and Thomas have?

  • Nahomy Garcia

    Questions to Dylan O’Brien and Will Poulter:
    1. Did the character you auditioned for is the same role you got or did you auditioned for something else at first? 2. What was your favorite scene to film?

  • Linda

    Dylan and Will:

    How was stunt training like? I know you guys have a scene where you wrestle, and then the fights with the Grievers. Did anyone get hurt?

  • Linda

    For Wes Ball:

    How are you making this film stand out from all other YA book adaptions coming out?

  • Hattie

    For Dylan and Will:
    Where were you when you found out you got the part of Thomas/Gally? How did you react?

  • Rich

    Questions for Well Ball:
    -Did you find it challenging to deliver on the expectations the premise creates? Sometime movies with this type of mystery end up feeling underwhelming because the mystery is bigger than that reveal.

    -How did you tackle the violence in the story? I assume the film will be PG-13, so how did you make sure we still feel sick about what these kids are being put through with out losing impact?

    -The books had some horror elements to it, did you make sure the film did too? Particularly with the Grievers and the tension they bring to scenes in the maze.

  • Nahomy Garcia

    Questions for Wes Ball:
    1. How did you feel when you were offered to direct The Maze Runner?
    2. Did you know the popularity of the books?
    3. How different is it directing from editing, production designing, writing, crew, etc?
    4. Did you contribute with anything else besides directing on set? If yes what?
    5. What were your favorite scenes to direct?
    6. How much do you think directing The Maze Runner its going to impact your career?
    7. Did you ever asked Mr. James Dashner for opinions or ideas?
    8. Are the Grievers mostly CG or were there people in green suits involved?
    (I know a lot of questions sorry. The maze runner its one of my favorite book series so I’m very passionate about them. By the way I think that Will Poulter was an excellent choice for Gally <3 )

  • Sarah Thomas

    I doubt these are any good, but i tried at least!

    Was there anything you did to help you transform or morph
    into your character or could you just instantly switch.(Aimed at Dylan and

    What was your initial reaction when you found out you had
    the parts? (Aimed at Will and Dylan)

    If there was one word you could use to describe the whole
    experience what would it be?(Aimed at all)

    Was it difficult deciding which parts would be in the film
    and which would have to be cut?(Aimed at Wes)