The first film in the trilogy of 'Maze Runner' hit cinemas back in 2014, catapulting DEXTER DARDEN and his co-stars into the spotlight as teen idols. Now two action-packed, jaw-dropping, heart-pounding movies later, they're bidding farewell to the dystopian franchise, but with Darden's upcoming role alongside Forest Whitaker and Andrea Riseborough in 'Burden' (nominated for Grand Jury Prize at Sundance), his career is just getting started.
AC: Was there a stand-out day for you on the set of ‘The Death Cure’?
DEXTER DARDEN: On one of the last days of shooting, we shot the last scene of the movie. It was awesome for all of us to end the movie how we started it - together!
How much does your character Frypan differ in the films compared to the books?
Not much, maybe slightly in appearance, but we tried to bring his warmth, kindness, and sense of humor to life the best way we could.
When was the last time you went into a real maze?
This Halloween! My friends and I did a corn maze.
What are the challenges of working on a project that involves some pretty complex stunts?
Just making sure they’re done safely and efficiently. Our stunt team on Death Cure did a fantastic job of making sure that happened.
Do you enjoy the training for them?
Absolutely, that’s one of my favorite parts. Getting in shape, and becoming confident in what you’re doing. Therefore when it’s time to film it, all you have to do is worry about the performance behind it.
Who was the funniest person on set?
We are all pretty funny in our own ways! Everyday someone different can come in and just make you cry of laughter.
Many teens will have grown up watching ‘The Maze Runner’ series. Was there a particular film series that you grew up on?
I really loved the Rush Hour movies! The chemistry between Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan was just incredible. A lot of kids my age were big Harry Potter fans though.
'Burden' - having premiered this January at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival - has been well-received by critics, centuring around an orphan raised within the Ku Klux Klan. Darden stars alongside Forest Whitaker, Andrea Riseborough and Usher.
The subject matter tackled in your upcoming film ‘Burden’ is as relevant as ever. What were your initial thoughts of the project?
It was something I instantly gravitated toward. Honestly, I’m so blessed and honored to be a part of a story like this. It needs to be told, and is just as relevant now, as it’s ever been.
How do you think ‘Burden’ will push the conversation forward?
I think because it’s based on a true story, the topic will be shocking to most. People forget the KKK still exist, and they’re still performing hate crimes. It’s time people are made more aware and start acting against such hate and violence.
What was it like working alongside Forest Whitaker?
It was such an honor. I mean he is one of the greatest to ever do it, so being able to just watch and learn from him was an experience I’ll never forget.
Favorite Film? Rush Hour! I love it, and could watch it over and over again!
Best show to binge-watch? Probably The Wire, I’m due for another watch of it anyway!
Everyone has a clever app idea, what’s yours? Wow! I feel like a slacker. I don’t really have a clever app Idea. Maybe one that tells you what kind of Pokémon you would have if they actually existed!
Last photograph you took? A picture of sneakers that I purchased for myself.
Favorite actor? Don’t really have one! I have a lot who I love, admire, and hope to work with one day though! I’m happy I got to cross Forest [Whitaker] off that list!
Where were you born? In Camden, New Jersey.
What was the last country you visited? Canada
Favorite meal? Probably the A-5 steak, with Rice, and asparagus.
Last song you listened to?Let It Snow by Boyz II Men & Brian McKnight. [NOTE: this interview was done in December!]
Is there a sport you wish you could play? Professionally? I would love to play basketball professionally. I wish I was better at soccer though.
Maze Runner: The Death Cure is in cinemas now.