WonderCon 2014: ‘The Maze Runner’ Cast and Director Talk Scale, the YA Genre, and Grievers

The Maze Runner WonderCon Press ConferenceThe Maze Runner WonderCon Press Conference

As one of the most anticipated films releasing this year, Dylan O’Brien and Will Poulter, along with director Wes Ball and author of The Maze Runner, James Dashner,made an appearance at WonderCon 2014 this weekend. The boys behind The Maze Runner got together to talk about the young adult genre, the scale of the movie, and also the grievers. Learn more after the break.

Although the YA genre has been mainly female driven (The Hunger Games; Beautiful Creatures; Twilight; The Host; The Immortal Instruments), the filmmakers and the cast would wholeheartedly would like you to consider not calling The Maze Runner YA, especially actor Will Poulter who plays the character Gally:

“I sort of reject the term young adult for two reasons. One, because i feel like it is slightly patronizing to young audiences to suggest that they are confined to watching sci-fi drama, I don’t think that’s fair. And secondly, and more particularly to maze runner, I feel like other films in the same kind of bracket that you would consider YA slightly have a balance different  to the maze runner, they put action and adventure in the visuals and the forefront and the character and the emotion take a back seat. And with this there is a real kind of integrity to the characters, and people will really be surprised by that.”

I had no idea he was British, based on his performance in We’re the Millers. Also, during the press conference, Wes Ball commented on the YA tag as well:

“Honestly, I tried to make something outside of the YA thing, I didn’t try to box myself into that. It’s just a movie that has young people in it dealing with very different kind of adult situations. And taking it as seriously as possible and making sure there is a lot of honesty and truth there.”

I asked Dylan O’Brien his feelings on the scope of the film compared to The Hunger Games and whether or not he felt the pressure of being the Katniss for male audiences:

“It was such a small movie, especially for a film like this. We had the smallest scale, budget, time, we were restrained by a lot of things. So it never felt like this was the next hunger games, like I’m the next Katniss. I never felt the weight of that at all, and I still don’t. With all that said, I am really excited to have this one be mine. The entire process was insane what we all went through out there together.”

There is no reported budget, but if the budget is as menial as they say it is, they sure make it look like a big blockbuster film. The budget for The Hunger Games was $78 million and earned $408 million domestically, while smaller YA films like Beautiful Creatures had a budget of $60 million and The Host $40 million, both of them flopping tremendously with $19 million and $26 million, respectively. The Maze Runner definitely feels refreshing compared to all of the other “young adult” genre films of late, and I hope for the best based on the first trailer we’ve seen.

And lastly, Dashner was asked how the grievers in the movie compared to his vision when writing the book:

“Their vision perfectly matched my. They took the greivers from the book and made them even better and will be a bit hit with my readers.”



Here’s the official plot synopsis for The Maze Runner:

“When Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape. Based on the best-selling novel by James Dashner.”

The Maze Runner lands in theaters everywhere on September 19, 2014.

Check out more news from WonderCon 2014 by following the WCA 2014 tag.

You can follow me on the Twitter @TyRawrrnosaurus

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