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Posted October 12, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)


About the Production

The Saga Continues

THE MAZE RUNNER was the first book in the best-selling post-apocalyptic YA book series by James Dashner. Published in 2009, it became a New York Times bestseller and captured the imaginations of readers around the world, who described it as a combination of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and the legendary television series Lost.

The second book, The Scorch Trials, was published in 2010, and a third tome, The Death Cure, was published in 2011.

The books’ legions of fans embraced THE MAZE RUNNER, which grossed more than $340 million worldwide. Since it all began with Dashner and his imaginative worlds and vivid, relatable characters, the filmmakers were eager to have the author involved in the development of the MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS screenplay. “We talked a lot about changes that we feel are necessary to make that transition from book to movie,” Dashner recalls. “Some things do have to change, but I have seen firsthand their tremendous effort to stay true to the characters, to the storyline, and to the spirit of the world. I couldn’t be happier.”

Specifically, according to Dashner, “We really want people to feel like they are getting enough answers in this film. These answers will lead into even more in the third film, which will be about resolution and revelation.”

While THE MAZE RUNNER was about escape, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS is about a journey.

Explains director Wes Ball, who made his feature debut with THE MAZE RUNNER and returns for the next chapter: “In this film, we learn there is a much bigger world waiting for Thomas and the Gladers, one that’s been ravaged by the sun and a deadly virus. These young people have to find their place in this world and figure out how they can fix it. The Gladers are very valuable to several different groups, and they’re torn between saving the world and their personal freedom.”

MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS answers many of the questions posed in the first film. The Gladers learn that most of the Earth has been destroyed, and that it was the ruthless scientific government entity known as World Catastrophe Killzone Department (WCKD) that sent the Gladers into the maze as a survival challenge.

They discover that some of them are immune to the fatal Flare disease that is ravaging the population. These Immunes hold biological enzymes within their bodies that may help others resist the Flare.

“THE MAZE RUNNER was about claustrophobia and we were always closed in and never saw a horizon. But in this new film we go out into the open world with a giant desert of sand dunes swallowing the whole world basically,” says Ball.

Producer Wyck Godfrey notes, “This story begins to unravel the mystery of what has happened to the world and how it was ravaged. Our characters find some answers by embarking on a very dangerous journey.

“The central question of the second film is: maybe we never should have left? It’s kind of thematically what you go through in adolescence,” Godfrey continues. “You spend your childhood wanting to get away from your house and out into the real world. Then as adults, we start to learn that things are not what we thought they were, they can be very difficult. When the outside world is revealed, it can be kind of imposing and dangerous, and that’s what happens to the Gladers.”

THE MAZE RUNNER co-screenwriter T.S. Nowlin says, “Mystery was the engine that drove people through the first movie – who built this maze and why? The engine we created for the second movie was to make it more of a chase and a fugitive story.”

Most of the cast from THE MAZE RUNNER was contacted to return for the new film, including Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien.

The actor notes: “In the first film, Thomas transitions from being a boy to a man, and he becomes a leader. To the Gladers, he represents hope, and Thomas realizes it’s up to him to get everyone out of the Glade. In this movie, he shoulders the responsibility for what’s happened to his fellow Gladers. Thomas convinced them to go for it and escape from the maze. Now they enter this world that’s not necessarily what they thought it would be. He promised his friends that leaving the maze was the right move – it was going to save them. So Thomas must carry that weight because he now realizes that they aren’t safe. It might even be worse for them out there in the Scorch, and in the hands of WCKD, essentially. So it’s now about him having to deal with that and staying strong.”

The new film’s haunting antagonists are the Cranks, dangerous and mutated creatures that are the living embodiment of the Flare virus. “The Cranks aren’t just monsters,” says Ball. “These are beings that while being very frightening, also evoke some sympathy because they were once people who have had their lives ripped out from under them.”

More formidable than even the monstrous Cranks are the forces running WCKD. “WCKD is a metaphor for authority figures and authoritative governments that believe an individual isn’t as important as the whole. I think that’s something young people rebel against,” says Godfrey. “They want their own lives. They want to make their own choices.”

On the other hand, he says, “WCKD is not 100 percent evil. They are trying to find a cure to a disease that’s wiping out humanity. But in doing so, they are wiping out the few people that can live with this disease and perhaps restart the Earth. So there’s some moral ambiguity there.”

For Dashner, creating these characters and their worlds has been liberating: “There are parts of our world that actually are dark and dystopic today. So this is a fun way to go through an adventure, to have some twists and turns in the action, and to also trigger some real moral questions about our world and the direction it’s heading.”

The Production

Prior to the start of production, and to prepare for its many rigors, key cast underwent boot camp training. They ran two to three miles daily in Albuquerque’s mile-high altitude, and practiced stunts, like Dylan O’Brien’s long slide through a closing door at the last minute and Ki Hong Lee’s leap-into-midair-kick at the bunker. With the director’s emphasis on naturalism, the cast took the stunts to heart.

THE MAZE RUNNER had filmed mostly at a single location, a heavily wooded glade near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but for MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS, a string of diverse locales was required to bring to life the expansive settings and journey.

In central New Mexico, near Albuquerque, the production found locations to support the film’s earth-toned, post-apocalyptic dystopian vision, including whirling desert sand dunes stretching under huge skies; parched earth; a dilapidated mall; hidden urban tunnels and storm drains; a derelict salvage yard; and a pristine mountain canyon that offered hope that nature might somehow endure.

The 58-day shoot found director Wes Ball once again merging his vision for imaginative visual set pieces with naturalistic performances.

Gone were the greens of the wooded Glade, replaced by earth tones of browns, blues, and reds. Explains Ball: “This movie has a lot of action and a new look at an epic story we began in the maze. It has a different palette, different colors and textures, and a totally different vibe.”

Godfrey notes: “Wes was a real find as a filmmaker. He placed his stamp as the new director to watch with THE MAZE RUNNER. We were thrilled he wanted continue the series. Wes is young, enthusiastic, extremely creative and visual, and enthusiastic in his communication of his vision. He does a lot of his own artwork, so he can pretty much come up with a big, giant painting and says, ‘That’s basically what I’m looking for.’ Then, we have to figure out how to actually make it happen.”

While some genre films have embraced a sleek, stylized approach, Godfrey says that Ball’s approach is “real and grounded and naturalistic. There’s not a kind of high-gloss finish to the MAZE RUNNER movies. I think that’s what our fans have responded to – that the films feel very textured and real.”

James Dashner notes that, “In the first movie, we saw the Glade, the maze, and a lot of cement, stone, and ivy. Now, we’re going out into the world, where we’ll experience all kinds of landscapes, ruins, storms and terrifying Cranks.

Audiences are going to be at the edge of their seats, and at times they’re going to be terrified. But most importantly, I think they’re going to feel even closer to these characters.”

Filming on MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS was sometimes almost, well, a trial, for the actors.

Confides Dylan O’Brien, who worked through a sprained wrist, “This movie has been as rigorous, if not more so, than the first one. I never thought that was possible. It’s beyond just the running. Now we’re racing through sandstorms, trudging up dunes and battling Cranks.”

Ki Hong Lee, who suffered a minor fracture of his knee running up the sand dunes, confirms that, “This movie is tougher than the first. We’re running for the entire story – running away from Cranks, running away from WCKD, running up sand dunes. What’s more, I have to be the fastest, the strongest, and the most badass of the team!”

The look of MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS evolved from Ball’s collaboration with production designer Daniel T. Dorrance.

Out in the Scorch, says Dorrance, “Everything had to be in disrepair, burned out, and broken down. The design was all about faded glory and earth tones. Then, for the WCKD scenes, Wes wanted everything to be clean, futuristic, rigid and high-tech, with lots of hard lines and cyan blues.

“MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS is not a world creation movie, but it is a world survival movie,” Dorrance continues. “Everything on screen has familiar iconography but we’re showing it all in complete disrepair. We’re showing people surviving the Scorch in a completely catastrophic way.”

The WCKD-run bunker is depicted from its exterior as an oil rig-like structure, with most of it situated below the desert. Inside the bunker are med-labs, bunkrooms, and interrogation rooms. Most of the interior scenes in the bunker were shot in an old computer chip plant, which offered a labyrinth of hallways and pipes. “We painted it a military gray, and added foil to update the pipes,” says Dorrance. “We also added ship-like sliding doors. The overall vibe for the bunker was to make it like an oil rig/aircraft carrier with the claustrophobic feeling of being trapped on a vessel.”

The sand dune scenes were shot mostly west of Albuquerque at Pajarito Dunes. “We cleaned the dunes of footprints and ATV tracks,” Dorrance explains. “We used rakes and a sweeping technique, and we had a low-hovering helicopter as a giant fan to get this swirly effect of the sand dunes. We made it feel like the desert had covered the city and enveloped it with sand. In theory, the sand is 50 feet deep in some cases. We had a little piece of architecture poke out of it to help sell that idea.”

For scenes set at an abandoned shopping mall, the company infiltrated the now shuttered Winrock Mall. Production knocked off ceiling tiles, blew out windows, and established a huge sand mound where the Gladers slid in from the sand dunes. Walls were aged with a paint process of numerous washes of black and burnt umber. Production tore into the drywall of the mall, and brought in safety glass with plastic filaments, creating facades of broken glass on the windows so they appeared to be broken but were not as dangerous as real broken windows.

The elaborate Jorge’s Lair sequences were shot at the Railyard in downtown Albuquerque and on elaborate sets built at Albuquerque Studios. The Railyard set design included architectural elements for scavengers living closely on top of one another. “We thought of it as a kind of Kowloon City – the stacked building structure in Hong Kong, where people had 40 square feet each to live within,” says Dorrance.

“The production created Jorge’s penthouse on a soundstage, using barrel roofed, cylinder-type architecture duplicating the Railyard’s I-beam 1940s factory look, along with recycled elements made of wood and plaster. “We went to salvage and recycling yards and found metal pieces and junk furniture,” recalls Dorrance. Set dressing was created from parachutes and other obscure materials. Jorge’s penthouse was decked out with electronics and survival gear.

For scenes set beneath the Scorch, production convinced the University of New Mexico to allow entry into the dark, dank tunnels, storm drains, and diversion channels underneath UNM Hospital.

To establish the Crankland shantytown, production took over several blocks in downtown Albuquerque. “Then we brought it all down to our level of disrepair,” explains Dorrance. “The sun has been so strong that the architecture has been affected, so plastics are melting. We looked for old, burnt vehicles. We created the shantytown with tarps, old billboard façades, cages from factories, scaffolding, tipped over dumpsters – anything people could find on the street and make a house out of.”

For a rave party sequence, the locations department found a unique space in the Zachary Mansion in downtown Albuquerque, nicknamed “The Castle” and owned by the late jewelry designer Gertrude Zachary. The mansion was wallpapered in a dark, mossy green, which was aged with staining and mildew. More than 200 chandeliers were hung in the distressed mansion, along with old art complementing the stained-glass windows. Dorrance explains: “We wanted to establish somewhere that used to be grand and wonderful, but now it’s barely surviving with faded glory. We strung lights to make it festive. We added party furniture, hundreds of candles that had burned into a mound, and VHS tape pulled out of its carcasses and used as streamer tape as a decorative element.”

The biggest challenge production faced was finding the location for the film’s climax, set at the mountainous Right Arm Camp. Producer Joe Hartwick Jr. remarks, “There are a lot of mountains in New Mexico, but there are not a lot of places in the mountains that are easily accessible for a film crew. We must have shown Wes twenty different locations before he finally signed off on one.”

The Right Arm Camp scenes were shot on the remote Diamond Tail Ranch, situated down miles of rutted dirt roads. The camp was conceptualized as a breath of fresh air, surrounded by a glistening stream and mountains. “It’s the ultimate camping environment,” says Dorrance. “It’s almost like a utopian city.” Sets were built here with hemp erosion cloth, camo netting, camping tents, military tents, and four-wheel drive vehicles with tents rigged onto them, so those living there could pack out in a night and move on.

There are about 600 visual effects shots in the movie, with their most dramatic use occurring in the Scorch and with the Cranks.

During post-production, visual effects added images of a city overtaken by extreme dryness and glaring sunshine that had destroyed the city, now a burned-out husk of decay and desolation. Internationally renowned effects house Weta Digital produced this digital magic from reference images. According to visual effects supervisor Richard Hollander: “There was nothing decrepit enough for us to use in Albuquerque, so we went online and found quite a few references of buildings that were abandoned, that had caught fire, and bridges that had fallen apart.

There are three stages of the Flare disease that turns humans into Cranks. “Stage 1” Cranks were created with prosthetic hair and makeup that enlarged veins, peeled skin, and darkened the area around eyes. For “Stage 2” Cranks, these effects became more pronounced with severely blackened, puffed-out veins. In “Stage 3,” the deterioration was computer-generated, with intestinal vines sprouting outward from the Cranks’ decaying bodies.

For the costumes, “The idea was that in the Scorch, nobody is making clothes, so everybody is just recycling, reusing already manufactured garments. Everything has to be used, dirty, distressed,” says costume designer Sanja Milkovc Hays.

The Gladers wear layered looks to accommodate the desert’s rapidly shifting temperatures. Thomas wears a fairly simple jacket and pants. Minho’s outfits were more military, especially his bomber jacket in the Right Arm Camp. Teresa wears a duster coat that was more feminine. Frypan often sports a vest, since he was a chef and might want to wear something more utilitarian. Newcomer Aris is frequently seen in a hoodie, looking lost.

The costumes for the Cranks were drastically ripped. “The idea was that being a Crank is really uncomfortable, so they rip their clothes,” points out Hays. Their costumes are meant to evoke evidence of homelessness and hopelessness.”

The scavengers look like the pirates of this futuristic world. “They go around and pick up the clothes they want to wear. We went with much warmer colors and a lot of browns, beiges, reds, and greens, and just overall much more fun outfits,” Hays notes.

At the Right Arm Camp in the mountains, the costumes emphasized a warmer color palette with beiges and light browns. Leather and sheepskin jackets were used, along with wool scarves and hats.

To make WCKD official Ava Paige, portrayed by Patricia Clarkson, look intimidating, she always wears white clothing made of luxurious fabrics, like cashmere. Hers were the only costumes that were not aged.

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