Dylan O’Brien knows a thing or two about what teens like with his turn on Teen Wolf catapulting him to stardom, and now with The Maze Runner hitting theaters, look for his audience to greatly expand. Sure, the film is based on the successful YA novel by James Dashner, but this dystopian thriller is as adult as thrillers get.
“I think what’s different about our story is we are a group of guys and girl who help each other get out of the maze together. We could just as easily kill and eat each other but it’s a story about working together and uniting,” O’Brien said recently on the Fox lot.
“We have our strengths and weaknesses, so just work together and it will work out.”
When they set out to make The Maze Runner film, the cast and crew keenly knew that a fan base would be paying attention to every detail. “You want to bring everything you can to the character in the book. I felt like I needed to come from a really honest perspective,” the actor admitted.
O’Brien plays Thomas, a “greenie” who arrives in the Glades completely unaware of how he got there and more importantly, what and where there is! As teased in The Maze Runner trailer, Thomas is among a group of young men who have spent years trying to figure out this maze that surrounds them -- and it’s the only way out.
“I always looked at Thomas as very honest and heroic and a truthful character, especially one who has been re-birthed,” O’Brien stated. “He’s a fresh greenie having had his memory wiped and almost redeveloping as a person.”
The film is quite loyal to the book, but there was one aspect that O’Brien wishes could have made it into the final version. “The Beetle Blades (creepy critters programmed to spy) is something in the book I always thought was cool. We even shot that but it didn’t make the final cut for some reason,” O’Brien said.
One thing that the book does not really have and neither does the film is any kind of romance. Considering the peril that everyone is going through, it seems like it would be out of left field that a romance would be sparked when the lone female arrives later in the story. O’Brien is thankful that that aspect was not added.
“It’s so realistic, and we just think it’s so appropriate for the circumstances. It’s so cinematic to just kind of add a relationship to something where let’s stop and think for a second,” O’Brien said. “These kids would not just be like smooching and flirting in this situation.”
Although he sees lots of action on Teen Wolf, it is nothing compared to what O’Brien went through on The Maze Runner. “I love sprinting, though, like for a short amount of time. But I think if anything I’m way more of a sprinter. And so, this was perfect but also exhausting,” he said.
What else was an interesting experience was hanging from the vines that adorn the tall maze walls. “I was just hung up on a wire. They would just bring me food and never lower me because it would take a long time,” O’Brien said.
“It was real ivy on the walls and the Grievers (killers in the maze) are jumping on me and they would shake the wall and all this debris rained down. It kept getting in my eyes!”
What The Maze Runner has done, above all else, is shown the world that O’Brien can be so much more than the comic foil, as he is in Teen Wolf, and also in his screen debut in The Internship.
“It’s just nice to get a chance to do something else. And I was really nervous about it at first. I did feel right as Thomas, and I felt comfortable in that role,” O’Brien said.
“My first favorite things about the project were the guys that were attached already. I just wanted to basically do them justice and do the movie justice. It’s always good to get to do something different. It’s great to go back to Stiles (on Teen Wolf) and see that I’ve taken things and just keep switching it up.”