Kaya Scodelario: I Look Back At Skins And Think ‘Oh God I Was 14….’

The actress talks to us about her new movie The Maze Runner and what really went on in Skins


by Jess Commons |
Published on

You can probably thank *Twilight *for teen fiction’s ongoing obsession with cinematic adaption. From the upcoming *The Hunger Games *installment to Divergent and The Fault in our Stars, this year has been top for phenomenally popular Young Adult books hitting the big screen. Next up is The Maze Runner, an adaption of the first novel in James Dashner’s trilogy of the same name.

This film mercifully features no cancer (still recovering from The Fault In Our Stars, thanks very much), but, like The Hunger Games et al, there is a whole lot of battle-ready teenagers plonked in a dystopian future setting. The film’s about Thomas, a cocky little chap with the cheekbones of a Greek god (Dylan O’ Brien who plays him in the film is in Teen Wolf and therefore already has a ridunkulous following of adoring teenage fans).

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Everything begins when Thomas is dropped off in a place called The Glade with no idea who he is or how he got there. There, he finds a group of boys all in the same predicament. All the gang know is that someone new joins once a month and The Glade is surrounded by a monster-filled maze which provides the only promise of an exit.

The film’s really great; The Glade’s got a Lord Of The Flies-esque feel to it, while the mysterious maze provides some genuinely freaky horror moments. Plus, not knowing what’s really going on the entire time? Pretty effective at keeping your attention. The film also stars your future husband Will Poulter as gang leader and Kaya Scodelario (best known as Effy from Skins) as the lone girl to arrive in The Glade.

We spoke to Kaya about being the only girl, playing an ass-kicking female role and what filming Skins was really like.

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The Debrief: Hello Kaya, what makes The Maze Runner different from other teen films?

Kaya Scodelario: We just tried to make just a really cool action film out of it, trying not to think of it as a young adult film because it kind of breaks all those clichés. There is no love story for starters!

DB: And you play Teresa…

KS: Yeah, she’s the first girl to ever enter The Glade. From that the characters know something is changing, so they decide to enter the maze to try and find out who they are. The problem is, there are these things in the maze called Grievers, which are like, really scary, intimidating monsters.

****DB: Yeah, they’re freaking terrifying. We didn’t sleep for days after see them. Was it ace playing an ass-kicking strong female role?

KS: Yes! I think we’re finally kind of accepting that yeah we’re women, but we’re just humans; we’re all the same. Teresa is complicated and she’s mysterious, as women genuinely are, and that’s not a weakness – I think people are starting to see that now. For a long time, we felt like, as women, if we show emotions, or if we’re strong, it meant something. Whereas now, its not a weakness, it’s just a human trait.

****DB: What’s the response been from fans of the book so far?

KS: There are some really, really lovely girls – I get some really inspirational messages, they inspire me a lot more actually, because they want to see strong female roles, they’re excited about it and it’s empowering them so much now.

****DB: Sounds promising…

KS: I think we’re in a generation where so many girls are looking at what hairstyles they want to have and what handbags they want to have, so it’s nice to know that there are some girls out there who are thinking emotionally about how they want to be a good, important, strong person, as opposed to just having the right handbag.

****DB: And how was it being the only girl amongst such a big group of guys?

KS: Yeah, I mean it was completely fine and straight away we were just friends, you know they didn’t try and act any differently around me, there were no egos, none of that, we all got to know each other as people and really liked each other. I flew my best friend out, so I had a little bit of girl company for a couple of weeks.

****DB: It sounds like the best summer camp ever…

KS: It was! It was exactly like summer camp.

****DB: It’s pretty cool there’s so many British actors in it [as well as Will and Kaya, the film stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Aml Ameen]…

KS: Yeah it was great! I think the Americans were just like, ‘Awww, they’re so excited to be here.’ But we taught them all about Marmite, digestive biscuits and PG tips and stuff, so it was cool.

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****DB: You grew up in the spotlight, appearing on Skins for such a long time – did it make you grow up more quickly?

KS: No, I think that’s what’s great about growing up in England. I had a completely normal experience. When we started Skins, none of us were actors, we were all just kids; we didn’t think it was going to get past one series, let alone be as big as it has been. So we all just had a really good time, we’re still all friends now because of it.

****DB: But you were only 14 when it started, and the show dealt with some very grown-up issues…

KS: I think growing up in London, you grow up a lot quicker than people think, and I mean, even now, I look back and I think, ‘Oh God I Was 14…’ and it sounds young to me, but I didn’t feel young.

****DB: So was it honest?

KS: It was an honest representation, that’s how I should say it. I’m not ashamed of that, I think that was part of growing up and going through life and that was what was great about Skins – we were all going through those things while we were filming; we were falling in love for the first time, we were getting our hearts broken and we were going out and staying out all night and then feeling like crap the next day. And we were actually experiencing it while we were making it. And that was actually the whole point of it, really.

The Maze Runner is out on Friday 10 October

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Follow Jess on Twitter @jess_commons

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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