“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is the sizzling new sequel in the Maze Runner films, which are based on the young adult book series. The Scorch Trials picks up where the last Maze Runner left off to reveal more about the harsh high-stakes world that lays beyond and unfolds the struggle between the WICKED organization and the other groups that lay scattered across a wasteland of turmoil hidden among the creatures that infest what’s left of it’s shadows.
We had the pleasure to talk to the film’s stars in an interview at the luxurious Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel including the delightful Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Ki Hong Lee (Minho), Kaya Scodelario (Teresa), Thomas-Brodie Sangster (Newt), Dexter Darden (Frypan) and newcomers to the cast Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge), and Rosa Salazar (Brenda). The stars were in good spirits and playful, making light-hearted jokes with each other as they spoke to us, and clearly had a sincere connection and friendship with their fellow cast-mates.There was a sense of warmth and camaraderie that was wonderful to see.
Want to know what they had to say? We’ve put together some fun facts for you about the film and cast that we couldn’t wait to share. We hope you enjoy! Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is rated PG-13 and is out in theaters September 18th.”
The movie was shot on an Indian burial ground.
The cast believe the shoot possibly became cursed after violating the sanctity of the Indian burial ground in New Mexico where part of the film was shot at. While there the cast was warned not to pick up or remove anything to avoid causing “bad luck”. Star Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who plays Newt, didn’t heed the ominous advice and took one of the ancient relics off the site. The next day five members of the cast ended up in the hospital.
The cast created their own jam band.
While shooting together the cast decided to form a band- Dylan O’Brien on the drums, Thomas Brodie-Sangster on bass, Dexter Darden on vocals, and Ki Hong’s stand-in, who was named Massa, played guitar. Toward the end of filming, the group had a massive seven hour jam session. Unfortunately no recording was made and this epic moment was lost to the sands of time in Albuquerque.
Dylan O’Brien reminisces about the experience fondly, “We should’ve gotten it going a lot sooner. The thing that we regretted it because we only did it the last couple weeks that we were there. And then we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh. Why haven’t we been jamming like this the whole time?’ It was really cool.”
Rosa Salazar got bonked on the head during shooting and became an oxygen addict.
Salazar, who plays Brenda, got a concussion shooting one of the tenser chases and tells the story, “Well, I did this stunt, and I insisted on doing my own stunts, which is a pretty smart decision I think. And, you’re in a harness for two weeks. You’re not breathing. That’s kind of cool. I was doing this stunt where I fall back, and I smack my head on a sheet of plexi-glass, so it gives a little bit, but it can still crack you one. And, there’s different setups, and I’m doing that smack 20, 30 times, and after a little while, my melon got soft, and I saw some spots. And, they put me on an oxygen machine, and that was awesome. I didn’t know those things existed. Why aren’t there more of those things just out on the street being sold?”
Salazar is doing fine though and is quite a trooper about the whole experience, “Oh my gosh. I would get two more concussions just to be hooked up to one of those things. It was awesome! I got a B12 shot. I was zooming. They were like, ‘How are you feeling?’Are you guys fans of The Simpsons? You remember when Mr. Burns comes out of the corn field, and he’s all radioactive. He’s like, ‘I come in peace!’ That’s exactly how I felt. It was awesome.”
Dexter Darden (Frypan) is a huge sneaker head.
Dexter Darden will proudly cop to the title, “I’m not just a sneaker head, I’m a sneaker fanatic!” In case you were wondering, Darden is a LeBrons man.
…So much so his fellow cast-mates pulled a prank on him.
Dylan O’Brien tells about a prank him and fellow cast-mates pulled where they hid Dexter Darden’s freshly acquired kicks, “Dex loves his shoes. He was out one night and a few of us were home, and he had the game system. So, we wanted to get into his room to get the Mario Kart. And while we were in there, too, he had his new shoes that he had just gotten that he was like all about. And basically we all thought it would be funny in our goofy, giggly manner to take Dex’s shoes, and have him have that horrible moment of going ‘where the heck are my LeBrons?’. It didn’t go that well.”
Dexter made it clear there were no hard feelings, “Really, I mean, we’re really just a joking, fun-loving cast, as you can see. So everybody’s joking around with each other but not really pranking, I don’t think”.
The cast are big Spike Lee and Breaking Bad fans.
The Scorch Trials introduces the character Jorge who is played by Giancarlo Esposito, an actor who has a pretty widely respected body of work. It turns out the rest of the cast are all big fans and were thrilled to have the chance to work with him.
Darden recalls seeing his films with his family, “All those Spike Lee films. I was growing up watching them. And my mom and my uncle would show me. And then I was a huge Breaking Bad fan.”
O’Brien adds, “We were all really excited when we knew he was cast. I’ve seen Giancarlo in movies since I was ten years old.”
The cast had buckets of sand thrown in their face.
The Scorch Trials has a lot of sand in it. A lot. In order to shoot the desert sandstorm scenes the cast had buckets of sand thrown in their faces with a giant fan. Kaya Scodelario who plays Tersa recalls her experience with more than a grain of salt, “It was so much fun. Kill me if I ever see sand again in my life. I don’t ever want to see a grain of sand again. It was great.” At least they got a great carido workout from climbing up all those dunes.
Even the cast was a bit scared by the chase scenes.
In The Scorch Trials viewers get introduced to the “Cranks”, and get to see more of the world of WICKED they only got to catch a glimpse of in the first film. The action gets ramped up this time around as creepier foes lurk behind every hall and corner along their journey. The atmosphere in the scenes gets tense and a little scary, even for the cast.
Rosa Salazar talks about how intimidating looking the muscle are this time around, “It’s scary because the WICKED outfits are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a bad guy. They’re like these crazy black matte, bug-looking no face things. There’s no humanity. They’re just like these big metal hunks with crazy guns. They were chasing us that day, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, stop! So scary.’”
Giancarlo Esposito describes the subtle difference between the types of choreography they use while shooting, “On the set it’s all of us together on any given day or some equation of people that we know, right? And, then you get all these extras who are either WICKED or they’re Cranks. You don’t know them. When you’re around someone, you get used to their physicality, how they move. We kind of dance with each other. So, then these other folks come on, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh! Is this 250 pound man going to crush me?’ With a lot of physical action, you’ve got to have your eyes open, and you’ve got to be ready.”
They used their challenges from their life to become stronger people
The Scorch Trials may have been an action packed and physically demanding shoot, but no matter the challenge, the cast’s strength and perseverance both on and off the screen stands as an inspiration.
Rosa Salazar shares about her past, “I feel like I have cultivated this tenacity over the years. I didn’t have a very picture perfect upbringing, so that kind of primed me for life. A lot of people will hear what I went through. It was not a huge deal. I grew up in the foster system, and I emancipated myself, which is a lot better than some people have, but when they here, like, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s so terrible.’ And, I’m like, well actually the world can be a pretty bleak and lonely and sort of competitive place, and if anything, it primed me to be able to handle that. And what acting has done has enabled me to maintain that childlike vulnerability.”
Giancarlo Esposito talks about caring for his Mother and the idea of being there for family, “I’ve been taking care of her for literally 40 years and trying to find ways to have her be mentally sound and try to keep her comfortable and try to make her well. I’ve always had inside of me the idea that we can help each other. What I love about this movie and why I chose it was because we are a family. That’s it really, it’s the hand that reaches out that lifts someone else up that is the truth of why we’re really here. And so I recognized that about Jorge. He’s found a place to save a bunch of people for as long as he can, and that makes him feel good but also allows them, empowers them to be able to have a moment, to be educated, to get strong — whatever it is — to be able to fight the next battle.”