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During the madness of Comic-Con, Hypable sat down with author James Dashner to get his thoughts on the upcoming Maze Runner movie adaptation.

Surprisingly, The Maze Runner did not have a panel inside Comic-Con, but it was present at Nerd HQ. Along with Dashner, star Dylan O’Brien, producer Wyck Godfrey, and director Wes Ball were all in attendance to discuss the upcoming blockbuster.

A film adaptation can often make or break a book series. James Dashner has been closely monitoring the process of adapting his bestselling novel The Maze Runner, so we checked in with him to see how he thinks it is all going. Dashner is also a huge movie fan, and has plenty of ideas about what makes a good adaptation.

Hypable: How did you feel when you found out ‘The Maze Runner’ film was finally going ahead?

James Dashner: It was part ecstatic and part relief. About three years ago, we got really close. We had a director, a screenplay, but it all kind of fell apart – which happens in Hollywood a lot. I was much more level-headed when it started happening again.

I tempered my expectations, but when the ball really got rolling, I knew that was happening when all the producers had a conference call with me. Then Wes Ball, the director, called me, and I was like “Okay, it’s happening.” Since then, I have been on Cloud 9.

Did you visit the set during filming?

I went before the actors arrived and got a tour of the set, and then I went the last week of shooting and met the whole cast and saw a couple of days of filming.

It was amazing. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge movie fan, so just to be on a movie set was incredible, and of course the fact that it’s my book. It’s ridiculous, I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

How did it feel to see the characters that you wrote standing there in real life?

There’s so much relief with it. I don’t know how I would have reacted if I have disagreed with all the choices, or if they were butchering my book or my vision. I agree and support everything about this film.

I love the casting, I love the script, I love Wes’ vision for it. The tone and the spirit of the movie, it’s almost too good to be true. I am extremely satisfied and happy about it.

Were you involved in the casting process?

A little. From the get go, it was a cool relationship. They wanted me involved, they were very good about reaching out to me. By the same token, I understand that that’s not my expertise. So it worked out perfectly – I was involved, and I felt involved, but I never tried to be heavy-handed or enforce anything.

I was involved, but on a small scale. Wes has been really awesome about staying in touch, asking me questions, asking for my feedback. I think he has taken a lot of that feedback when it worked for him.

Was there any casting that was not how you had pictured the character?

maze runner movie teresaYeah. It’s all about matching the spirit of it. Frypan was not how I literally envisioned him, but everyone else pretty much was.

When I think of Minho, and Thomas, and Alby – and especially Chuck. Chuck is like he literally stepped out of the pages of the book, it’s almost eerie.

And with Teresa, I was really surprised. I don’t really describe her in too much detail, the hair colour and maybe the eye colour, and then leave it up to the reader’s imagination, but somehow, I saw her and thought “That’s Teresa.”

You’re a huge movie fan, and there are a lot of adaptations around at the moment. What do you think is the most important factor in making a successful adaptation?

I think to be careful of trying to be literal. A great example is the Harry Potter movies. I am a huge Harry Potter fan, I love the books. The first two movies, I felt were very literal to the book. It was like going through a checklist while I watched the movies, and it bored me to tears.

Then with the third movie, they thought “Well we can’t do that anymore, the books are getting huge,” so instead of trying to be literal they tried to transform the book into a cinematic experience.

It is what Peter Jackson did with The Lord of the Rings, and I think that is the key, to stay away from literal translation, and more about capturing the vision and spirit of the plot and characters.

Do you have a favourite adaptation?

I would have to say Lord of the Rings. I consider them all one movie, and that is my favourite movie.

So they are something to aspire to as they make The Maze Runner trilogy?

Yeah! They’re not going to be as big, and epic, and grand as Lord of the Rings, but if they can follow that pattern of staying true to the spirit, I will be ecstatic.

‘Lord of the Rings’ was an adaptation where a lot of things were changed quite drastically. Can ‘The Maze Runner’ fans expect similar changes in the film adaptation?

maze runner movie thomasThere are changes, and they all make sense. I will spend the next seven months soothing my fans, preparing them. For example, the telepathy between Thomas and Teresa would just not work in the movie. Telepathy never works, it just looks cheesy and stupid.

It works great in the book, it’s a cool way for them to be connected, but that is not in the film. But Wes Ball is a genius, and the way he creates that connection in a different way is very cool.

And small things, like WICKED is just WCKD, and of course there are a lot of fans that went nuts. But it means the exact same thing, it’s pronounced the exact same way, it just looks cooler visually than spelling out the word.

Do you feel any extra pressure because of the level of dedication from your fans?

I feel my own personal extreme pressure. I desperately want the first movie to succeed so they can make the other two, and make the prequel, who knows. I know I can’t take it upon myself for the movie to perform, but I feel it. I am going to fight my hardest.

Look out for part 2 of our interview with James Dashner, in which he discusses the possibility of more ‘Maze Runner’ books, his new series ‘Eye of Minds’, and more.

Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover

‘Arrow’

Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells ComicBook.com.

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?