James talks all things TMR series, the adaptation process, and more with Showcase Cinemas!
Check out the highlights below:
Was it always going to be a trilogy?
Yes. When I mapped out the story, it fit perfectly into a Three-Act tale.
Reading the book, it all begins with a rip-roaring start, it captures you (excuse the pun!) and its cinematic qualities are apparent. Did you have thoughts as to the world of film when writing the book?
Oh, absolutely. As much as I like books, movies are my real and deepest love. And when I write, I always think cinematically and envision it that way in my head. Then I try to transform that into words on a page.
Can you tell us a few of the films that have influenced you?
Oh, man. So many films, so little time. I guess I'll just name a few that pop into my head immediately. The Matrix, Inception, The Shining, Goonies, E.T., Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Aliens, Terminator, Back to the Future, Stand By Me, Lord of the Rings. I could go on and on and on!
We love the fact you really buy into the confusion and fear of the boy we come to know as Thomas, we learn as he learns about the Glade and the world outside and into the Maze, which will make for a great opening for the film; can you talk us through the book becoming a film?
The book was optioned almost at the very beginning, and it had its ups and downs before 20th Century Fix got really serious about it two years ago. I didn't have any real power over the film, but luckily for me, Fox wanted me involved and were incredibly great about it. I consulted on the script but didn't write it. That's not my expertise. But I was so, so happy with it. I was in constant contact with the director and producer, went to the set twice, went to see them score the film, and now Fox is including me in all of the publicity. I'm so happy with how it's all come together.
It's the feature debut of director Wes Ball, when did he come on board and what can you tell us about him as a director?
Wes Ball is a genius. At this point, that may seem like I'm just being biased and trying to sell him. But in a few months, everyone will realize it's the truth. He is a visionary genius, and he made a spectacular film with a very modest budget. I really think it's something special. He'd been signed to Fox to adapt his own short film, Ruin, which you can go watch on YouTube. It's amazing. But before that, they asked him to bring in concept art and his overall vision for The Maze Runner. They were sold immediately and asked him to be the director.
We've loved the trailer here at Showcase, James. It must have been a huge buzz to have seen the 20th Century Fox logo and then The Maze Runner on screen together?
That's so funny you say that! Because it was a HUGE buzz. I mean, come on. You're talking to a Star Wars nerd, who was an actual kid when those movies came out. And everyone remembers how they started: with the drums and the iconic Fox logo. To see that attached to a movie based on a book I wrote…Indescribable. And I'm a writer! I think the trailer really opened a lot of peoples' eyes that this is a film to take seriously.
A great young cast, with lots of British presence, what can you tell us about them, James?
How cool is it, I mean, seriously, how cool is that we have FOUR cast members from "across the pond" as we say over here. Or is it you guys that say that? I don't know. Anyway, I'm so thrilled that we nabbed Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Kaya Scodelario, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. They are so fantastic, and treated me with so much respect and genuineness. Meeting the cast was such a thrill for me. I feel like their crazy uncle now. I've never seen so much hugging and laughing and camaraderie. We did also give one or two parts to non-English, believe it or not. Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, Ki Hong Lee a Minho… I mean, they're all just so fantastic. I don't even know what else to say. The acting performances are top notch. I love what Wes Ball say: He hopes that someday people will look back at this film as they do movies like Taps, or Lost Boys, or American Graffiti, where just can't believe that so many future starts were in one film.
Make sure to check out the rest of this insightful interview with James at the source!