'Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials' and How That Explosive Action Scene With a Patsy Cline Song Came to Be
Patricia Clarkson, Giancarlo Esposito, Kaya Scodelario and more from the Fox sequel's cast tell THR of their ideal fight-sequence soundtracks.
When thinking Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Patsy Cline doesn't come to mind.
But the Nashville legend's "Walkin' After Midnight" appears in the second installment of the Fox franchise, based on James Dashner’s young-adult book trilogy about teens discovering their role in a post-apocalyptic experiment. The 1957 hit plays during a warehouse-set fight scene between rebels and WCKD soldiers that ends with a massive explosion, triggered by the sequel's new face, Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito).
"We knew from the books that the building had to come down with an explosive element," explained director Wes Ball at the film's New York City premiere. "It's boring to just light a fuse or press a button. I had this idea of a record starting to play, echoing through this space and basically using it as a wick."
The unlikely song choice was immediate, said Ball. "You want something classic and timeless so it doesn't place you in a particular time period. It's an old school song that everyone kind of knows."
"We knew it should be something old-fashioned and kind of swing. And I've always loved Patsy Cline, being a Southerner," added producer Wyck Godfrey. Most difficult part of making their idea a reality? "Editing the sequence to fit the song exactly — that was tough for Wes."
Esposito said the move further informed his character. "I love that Jorge is so savvy in music and culture; he's erudite yet he's fierce," he told THR, as the lyrics mirror his character's search for a safe haven from the plague that's turned the population into zombie-like Cranks. "In that moment, he's sending a message."
The film's younger actors appreciated the action scene's contrast. "In Reservoir Dogs, Michael Madsen is dancing to a polar opposite song ["Stuck in the Middle With You"] when he's cutting someone's ear off," said Rosa Salazar. "American Psycho, Christian Bale listens to Huey Lewis and the News and then chops someone's head off. I love that stuff!"
And as other dystopian teen-targeting films opt for EDM-inspired scores or indie-pop songs for its action scenes, star Dylan O'Brien said, "It was my favorite thing in the script, and something you wouldn't expect in a YA movie. I think it elevates it, switching it up from what people would expect. I loved it so much, and I had such a clear picture of that dichotomy in my head. So [while shooting,] it was just about playing the action honestly, and then the song does the rest."
THR asked the cast what tracks they'd play during their ideal fight scene:
Kaya Scodelario (Teresa): "For a fight, Rolling Stones' 'Jumpin' Jack Flash' would be really cool."
Ki Hong Lee (Minho): "Hmm, I don't know. … Tupac's 'Changes.'"
Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge): "'Kung-Fu Fighting' [by Carl Douglas]."
Jacob Lofland (Aris): "Johnny Cash, 'Won't Back Down.' I love that song."
Rosa Salazar (Brenda): "ELO, 'Strange Music.'"
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt): "'Riders on the Storm' [by The Doors]."
Patricia Clarkson (Ava Page): "My favorite song is 'Martha' by Tom Waits, so it would be a very, very sad, slow, turgid fight sequence."