Last fall, Fangirlish had the pleasure of visiting the set of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials in beautiful Albuquerque, New Mexico. We spent the day at I-25 Studios, watching several scenes be filmed and sitting down with the cast, director Wes Ball, and more key figures to get the inside scoop on The Scorch Trials. We’ll be sharing everything that we learned on set in the weeks to come, so stay tuned and get ready for Scorch.
It takes a lot to survive the Scorch, and you’re bound to get hurt along the way. The Gladers must endure harsh conditions, hard falls and slides, and – of course – lots of running if they’re going to make it, which means that the actors bringing these heroic characters to life in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials were in for some intense situations themselves during filming. When we spoke to the cast, they all had stories to share about on-set injuries of varying degrees of intensity. From “Maze Runner Shoulder” to knife-flipping incidents and having sand in places you really don’t want to have sand, here’s what they had to say:
Dylan O’Brien (Thomas) has a permanent souvenir from his time filming The Maze Runner – and no, it’s not a tattoo. “Hold on. [swings arm, popping shoulder] Do you hear that? So that’s my Maze Runner shoulder,” he said. Though there was certainly a lot of running involved in making the film, Dylan thinks it was the stunts that got him in the end. “I had to take so many falls in the first one; I think that’s what it was eventually. I now just have this kink in my shoulder. I feel like a nana, you know? [laughs]”
Dylan also experienced issues with his right knee post-Maze Runner, which have thankfully now subsided. When we spoke to him, he’d been holding up alright on the set of the sequel – but he was prepared for anything. “In this one, so far – I mean, we’ve only been going a couple weeks. [laughs] But you’re always being physical, so there’s always [that possibility],” he said.
Though Kaya Scodelario “had it sweet last time” and avoided injury, the Scorch was not as kind to her. Just a few weeks into shooting, she was already experiencing back and knee problems. “It’s been physically so much tougher than the first one, and we’re only on week three, but that’s kind of great,” she said.
Kaya’s dedication to making Teresa even more of a badass in The Scorch Trials also brought about some suffering in the name of art. “We’ve done a lot of climbing up sand dunes, running down sand dunes… I’m barefoot for a lot of the movie, so that’s been kind of cool for me. I have this image of Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 when she’s running down the corridors barefoot, and I just love that scene. I wanted to have that Sarah Connor moment.” While we can’t wait to see Teresa slay in the Scorch, running sans shoes isn’t the safest thing one can do on a film set. “I pulled my toenail off yesterday because I ran into a bolt that was sticking up out of the floor,” Kaya said. But rather than letting the injuries get her down, Kaya used them to further channel her character, Teresa. “I like the imagery,” she said. “You’re like, ‘I’m working hard. This is good.'”
Alex Flores (Winston) was also feeling the back pain after running – but not on-camera. “[I was] running to set to go run,” he said. “Just like, running up steps. I stepped the wrong way, and I pulled something. I was like, ‘Okay, yeah, great. And now I have to run for an hour or two. This is gonna be great.'”
The Scorch is a constant source of danger, as Alex was becoming well-aware: “We’ve all kind of hurt ourselves. I hurt my knee, I hurt my wrist, I hurt my back… It’s just a lot of hurting ourselves. [laughs]” Of course, it wasn’t only the stunts making things difficult, but the environment itself. “You wake up with sand in your face and your ears. You can’t hear, and it’s the best,” Flores said. Talk about intense filming conditions.
Alex wasn’t the only one encountering painful situations off-camera. “I just cut my finger getting out of my trailer. I closed the door and sliced my finger open,” Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt) said. Though he, like Kaya, managed to avoid injury on The Maze Runner, the Scorch has been getting to him. But as any good runner knows, the secret to injury prevention is a lot of preparation – and stretching. “We have to make sure we stretch out. Running on very uneven ground and in sand is always hard, and when you’re doing it take after take, you do end up getting a bit sore in the morning,” he said. “But as long as you stretch out, it’s okay.”
Ki Hong Lee
Ki Hong Lee (Minho) affirmed that muscle soreness and nicks are a constant occupational hazard on The Scorch Trials set. However, his injury was unrelated to both running and the ongoing parkour the cast was inspired to partake in after meeting their “awesome stunt guy,” Shane. “He does a lot of parkour, so we do a lot of parkour stuff,” Lee said. “Whenever we run and jump on something in real life, we just say ‘Parkour!’ as we’re landing on a curb or something. It’s a stupid thing we do.”
Though no one was hurt with all the amateur parkour, Ki Hong did run into trouble when he tried to up the badass factor by asking for a real knife to use in place of a dull one during a scene. “I started flipping it and I would have to catch it, and I can do it with a dull knife but when it’s real, I guess I can’t,” he said. “It kept cutting me, so I had to sustain all these cuts. It’s okay; it’s mostly healed now. I think that’s the most severe injury.”
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the Scorch Trials cast truly put their hearts and souls – and all sense of self-preservation – into making this film. Though we hate to see our faves suffer for the sake of their craft, we have no doubt that their dedication will result in awe-inspiring stunts and an overall incredible movie.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials hits theaters September 18.
Interviews have been edited for clarity.