The Maze Runner is about a teen named Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) who mysteriously ends up trapped in the center of a deadly maze with several dozen other boys. With his memory wiped, he has no recollection of the past. He is fully focused on the present, however, and plans to lead the other boys to freedom — that is, if he isn't killed by giant machine/tarantula hybrids called Grievers.
The plot goes from crazy to baffling when the first girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) appears in the maze as well, also with no memory, only with a note that reads, "This is the last one."
While most Young Adult novels focus on a precious first romance, like in The Fault in our Stars, or a love triangle like in Twilight or The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner famously has none of that. When we asked the actors how they felt about it, we were shocked when the entire cast said they were "relieved."
"Me and Kaya have always loved [the lack of romance in] our story line. It's so realistic and appropriate for the circumstances. It's so cinematic to add a relationship, but let's stop and think for minute. These kids would not be flirting or smooching," said O'Brien.
Scodelario agreed, saying, "There's no time. I like the honesty of it. As a woman it was so nice to be able to go into a project and know I wasn't going to have to play that side. It is a huge part of being a teenager — falling in love for the first time — but I feel like we've explored that so much.
"It was interesting for me to explore a young woman who's put into a situation where she doesn't need to make friends. She doesn't need them all to like her. It's purely about survival, and that's so brave and so against the grain nowadays with female characters in films. Like I said, there would be no time for them to go on a little walk into the forest."
However, there were flirty scenes in the original script that they actually shot, but didn't end up in the final cut of the movie. Scodelario said shooting those scenes was "just weird."
"Maybe those scenes will end up on the DVD, but I hope not. It's just not appropriate for this movie," said O'Brien.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who played Newt, added, "You don't need it. There's enough love and emotions going around the Gladers themselves. Not every teenager is in and out of love all the time. I certainly never fell in love as a teenager — I never even had a girlfriend as a teenager. I don't think you have to put that into every teen film."
We asked Ki Hong Lee, who plays Minho, what he thinks teenagers will take away from The Maze Runner movie that can't be found in other dystopian films.
"What's different in our movie is that we're a group of guys, and a girl, who help each other get out of the maze together. We are stuck in this dystopian society where we could just as easily kill each other and eat each other. It's a story about a group of people who are stuck in a predicament, just like we are in this world.
"Hopefully, they take away the fact that we've worked together, we united. We have our differences, obviously, we each have our strengths and weaknesses — we have runners, we have builders — and if we just unite and work together, it will work out."
The Maze Runner opens in theaters Sept. 19.
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