Based on the (first book) young adult series by James Dashner of the same title, “The Maze Runner” director Wes Ball casts Poulter as Gally, one of the captured Glader group who takes an instant dislike to newcomer Thomas played by Dylan O’Brien. Thomas wakes up in a lift, moving slowly upward. As the box grinds to a halt and the doors open, he s finds himself among a colony of boys who welcome him to the Glade – a large open expanse surrounded by enormous concrete walls. Thomas’ mind is blank. He has no knowledge of where he is, doesn’t know where he came from, and he can’t remember his parents, his past, or even his own name.
Thomas’s nemesis in the Glade is Gally. Smart and intimidating, Gally wants to maintain the status quo and clashes with the new arrival. “But Gally and Thomas are really two sides of the same coin,” notes Ball. “Thomas fully embraces and charges into the unknown and Gally is all about self-preservation and keeping things safe and normal.”
Will Poulter, who starred in the cult film “Son of Rambow,” and recently showed his comic skill in “We’re the Millers,” portrays Gally. Godfrey says, “Will’s the perfect Gally because you don’t want to mess with him, and he’s an intelligent adversary.”
Gally’s trust in and insistence on the status quo is not without good reason, says Poulter. “He’s not so much the law-keeper as he is a guy who has a lot of faith in the rules, because without them, the Gladers will die,” he explains. “So Gally is quick to speak up and challenge Thomas when those rules aren’t respected. To him, those laws are life itself.”
Novelist Dashner also rejects the idea that Gally is a villain. “I wanted to set him up as a major rival to Thomas, but I also wanted readers to empathize with him and understand his beliefs and actions,” he says.
On auditioning for the part, Poulter shared that “Well, actually I auditioned a scene for Gally without having read the script or the books and so that was quite tricky. I went away and read the books and the script and I loved them both. What I really loved about the script – and it’s the biggest challenge when adapting into film – is that it captured the spirit of the book without having every single detail in, because that would be impossible. The camaraderie between the Gladers is really, really key in this and the dynamic that exists between characters – how they negotiate around the hierarchy they’ve built – I really liked as an actor. And then to play someone I hadn’t played before – I wouldn’t call him a villain, but he’s this conflicted character that goes between good and bad. It’s difficult to know where Gally stands. I was on board from the moment I read the script, because it was a great challenge and you don’t often associate such challenges with a platform as big as this movie.”
“The Maze Runner” opens September 17 in cinemas from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.