I had the absolute privilege of scoring 15 minutes alone with Dylan O’Brien a couple weeks ago at Comic-Con in San Diego to talk about his upcoming performance as Thomas in the adaptation of James Dashner’s book The Maze Runner, which just finished shooting in Louisiana and is slated for release in early 2014.
Dylan was there to promote his work on the film, but he’s also a Comic-Con veteran, having made the trip down for years with the cast of Teen Wolf — he called it their annual “family vacation.”
It was just me and him alone in a booth at the Hard Rock Cafe, our faces from each other so we could hear over the din of the many interviews taking place. Very intimate. So what do I do? I invite all of you along, of course. I tweeted fans to send me questions and got some great ones. Here’s what he had to say. Enjoy!
— Nicole (@nicoleburtonn) July 19, 2013
Dylan: Literally just surviving through it on the fly. It was actually really funny — me and Wes talked about how we noticed my endurance building up. The movie was my only training for me. I went straight from Teen Wolf into flying to Baton Rouge so I didn’t have any training days. I remember the first day I had to run and do 300 yard dashes over and over I did it about six times in the field. I remember after that I was spent. Then throughout the rest of the movie it got to the point where I would be running all day for 16 hours straight and I would be okay. It’s funny to think on the first day after an hour I was already done and passing out.
Do you feel any pressure taking on such a role as Thomas? Are you scared of disappointing fans? (You won’t)
— ♔Devin King of Sass (@lawlwut_) July 19, 2013
Dylan: That’s so sweet, I love that. See that right there is why no I didn’t feel any pressure at all. When I first got this part there’s a little bit of that pressure you put on yourself, just natural anxiety. But my experience with my fans, the books fans they’ve all been very accepting. I don’t feel like I have to be anything special and I feel like I can mess up in front of them. That makes my job so much easier. I don’t go to work everyday thinking “oh my god I hope I’m not screwing this up.”
— TEEN GIRL ~ (@TheDreamIsThee) July 19, 2013
Dylan: It was important for me but once I got halfway through I realized that it wasn’t too crucial at that point. Because again, I had no time, I came right into pre-production and we were starting in a week and a half. We had already had changes made to our script at that time so I was still getting the script down. We have so many changes from the book to the script that at one point I was starting to get confused. I remember one day I went up to Wes and asked him about a scene we were doing and he was like “that’s not in the script, it’s only in the book” and I was like ‘Oh my God I gotta work this out!’ So I put the book the book aside for a second, I didn’t want to finish it until I was confident I knew the script inside out.
That was my priority as an actor, but the book helps so much just briefing me on what I’m doing. I love books too because books in general give so much more insight to characters and people. So it’s really important to get that insight as you are portraying the character.
— Sannah Kim (@sannahkim) July 19, 2013
Dylan: We’re similar in ways like I think I’m a person who is easily scared or intimated, I have anxieties and fears. But I’ve done everything in spite of my fears. I’m an actor as my profession and I’m nervous in front of a camera and shy around people. I’ve always had to deal with certain stuff about myself because it’s been a weird thing in my life and me as a person where all of my biggest fears happen to go right along with all of the things I do in life like perform. So that’s the stuff that I took to Thomas is that he’s in this situation where he’s absolutely not just vulnerable but literally just scared out of his mind. In no control but wants to survive and just reacts and goes with his instincts without even thinking about it.
Difference… I don’t know though, I’ve always poured a lot of myself into the characters I’ve played. Maybe he’s a lot more capable than I am, the stuff that he pulls off I don’t think any person in real life can pull that stuff off.
— Kimmyanya. (@graceffanyas) July 19, 2013
Dylan: That’s a really tough question because you want to pick somebody who it’s your dream to attempt working with and have the pleasure of even saying a line to. For me that’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks. Those guys I absolutely worshiped growing up. Robert De Niro. Certain people who I just would be so honored to even be considered to act opposite. Then the whole working them the rest of your life, you don’t know if they’re crazy, you want to pick someone you know. That would be Tyler Posey.
Stacy: What can fans look forward to on Teen Wolf?
Dylan: I think we’re gonna do something with a kindred spirit, I think there’s a werefox. I don’t know I’m so not briefed yet, I just finished Maze Runner so I haven’t check in on this coming season.
Stacy: Three words that describe working with Kaya?
Dylan: Never-boring, adorable, lovely.