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.
Filming The Scorch Trials was just about intense as the movie itself, requiring the cast to navigate the daunting sand dunes of the Scorch and pull off some seriously involved stunts before all was said and done. Oh yeah, and all of this was made even more difficult thanks to the high altitude of the film’s set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where some of the world’s top athletes train due to the challenging conditions.
With all of that pressure and intensity, the cast had to adopt a work hard, play hard attitude in order to make it through. So how exactly did they spend their time off-set?
Mario Kart. Lots and lots of Mario Kart.
“We play a lot of Mario Kart as a cast,” Dexter Darden – who brought his Wii to set – said. “As soon as we wrap, no matter what time it is, we all get together and play a little Mario Kart or cook some food. We do family group meals, too, where everybody cooks something and brings it over, but the Wii is kind of what keeps us sane. When you’re all on set for a long time, it can tend to consume your life, but if you have a good group of friends and good things to divert your attention then it’s nice and easy.”
Anyone who is familiar with the game may know how easily Mario Kart can ruin friendships. We had to ask – did the rivalry impact any of the camaraderie amongst the cast members? “That’s a good question!” Dexter said, laughing. “We’re very competitive, but it’s a brotherhood. If any of you have siblings, you argue with your siblings and then you turn around and give them a hug five minutes later. We’re still very close always. I don’t think anything is gonna deter that friendship, so it’s nice.”
Though the cast used to argue about which character they would play (Yoshi and Toad were favorites), they found a good way around those disputes. “Now we all created our own Miis so that we don’t have that argument anymore,” Dexter said.
If any of you are ready to hone your Mario Kart skills right now in case you ever have the chance to take on the Scorch Trials cast, it will be important to know which of them is the one to beat. Ki Hong Lee was the first to count himself out of the running. “I suck at Mario Kart,” he said. “I never really played on the Wii before. I got kind of good, and then I got really into it. We played a lot during pre-production, but I want to get back on it.”
Though Ki Hong doesn’t think his own skills are quite up to par, he did weigh in on which of his costars dominate the track. “Dexter is up there – he’s pretty good. Dylan [O’Brien] is pretty good, too. Thomas [Brodie-Sangster] is pretty good, Jacob [Lofland] got pretty good… Kaya [Scodelario] is like, dark horse. She’s so good. She’s the best. I suck and I’m just learning how to control it.”
On Kaya’s Mario Kart brilliance, the cast could all agree. “Kaya’s probably the most competitive of us all, especially when it comes to Mario Kart,” Dexter said. When we told her how her castmates had revealed her competitive side, she had a sassy remark at the ready: “Yeah. Well that’s because I’m the best and they can’t deal with that.”
It turns out that the Scorch Trials star has been playing since she was a teenager. “When I first left home when I was 16, the first thing I bought was a Wii and Mario Kart, so I just played it every day,” Scodelario said. “I’m really good at it.”
If you want to have a hope of besting Scodelario’s skills, it’s time to power down your device and hit Rainbow Road a few – or a few hundred – times. Personally, we’ll take the Cranks over a blue shell any day.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials hits theaters September 18.