"The Maze Runner" director Wes Ball admitted that he first thought Dylan O'Brien was too "cool" to play the innocent and vulnerable lead role Thomas.
"I wasn't even sure that Dylan was the right guy at first. It took me a lot of time to talk to Dylan, to just get to know him and understand that he can do the very emotional, soft, nuanced stuff," Ball said.
The young adult dystopian film, an adaptation of James Dashner's novel, tells the story of a group of boys living in a mysterious and isolated paradise called the Glade. Having no memories of their past, the boys are trapped by a giant moving concrete maze, which is their only way to escape.
Set to be released in the US on Sept. 19, Friday, "The Maze Runner" is Ball's feature film directing debut. It is also Twenty-First Century Fox's first movie to be shown on a 270-degree panoramic screen called Barco Escape.
"Just treat me like a person, with respect. I'll take selfies," he told Gotham Magazine.
Admitting to being claustrophobic, O'Brien told Newsday the scariest scene he did in "The Maze Runner" was going through the doors when his character first entered the maze.
"Those things were really powerful and the doors were kind of short-circuiting," O'Brien explained.
In an interview with The Daily Star, the 23-year-old actor compared "Maze Runner" to other young adult films such as "Hunger Games" starring Jennifer Lawrence and "Divergent" starring Shailene Woodley.
"It's completely opposite to the themes of these kids having to compete against one another and kill one another. This is very much about these kids having to come together and survive," O'Brien said.
While "Hunger Games" and "Divergent" performed well at the box office, other young adult book adaptations such as "The Host," "The Mortal Instruments" and "Ender's Game" failed to do so in 2013.
"The reason some of those movies didn't work is because they weren't adventurous," Ball explained.
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