London-born actor Aml Ameen, A.K.A. The Times' "One to Watch", is set to star in the film adaptation of James Dashner's novel The Maze Runner as Alby, the stern leader of The Gladers.
With just two days before the highly anticipated flick hits Aussie cinemas, check out what Aml had to say about his character, life on set and professional inspirations.
What do you love most about your character?
I love that he's the leader who rules with benevolence and heart - that he's had a scar or a dark past he's overcome when he initially wanted to commit suicide after being in the Glade for a month by himself, but found hope in the other Gladers, and found purpose is his service to the community.
What similarities are there between the real you and Alby?
He's the closest I’ve played to myself I think. I'm in love with my family, they're such an important part of my heart, without them I don't feel complete. I think the same of Alby.
Which character in the film do you relate to most on a personal level?
Alby. I got lucky playing someone so close to home. I got to just be on set, because we are completely akin to each other. He's a great character, but really he's me, and was meant for me to play.
What was it like working with a predominantly male cast?
Fun! We did a lot of male bonding, playing sports and being competitive playing basketball. It was a good time with The Maze Runner lads, lots of laughs and cracks on each other.
Have you read the Maze Runner series?
I've read the first book.
What feedback (if any) have you had from book fans about casting?
It’s been extremely positive, which is always appreciated. Fans made a Birthday video for me from around the world, singing my brother Mikel Ameen’s Maze Runner tune “Kings Will Be Kings.”
Given it has such a huge fan base, do you feel pressure to impress fans of the book?
I think Wes the director has completely wowed and impressed us all with his decisions and creativity with the film. He's take the pressure off of all of us by making an exceptional film.
What is it about the Maze Runner story that appeals to you most?
I think the film has a timeless mythology aspect that I'm intrigued by. It's like any great creation story, people not recalling the life before them and having to go through certain trails to have some enlightenment about who they truly are. It's also a cool action adventure film, something I’ve always wanted to be a part of.
In the Maze Runner, the boys have no memory of their past lives. What memory from your own life means the most to you?
It's many of the family parties I have in London. I go home to my mum's house and it's filled with love, laughter and dancing; it's the time in my life where I feel the most wealthy and happy.
Who inspires you professionally?
So many great influences out there, but these days it's someone very close to me. My brother Mikel Ameen is a music artist and rapper, his music is of great inspiration to me, on a spiritual level and artistically. What he's done with his albums World Changer and World Changer Rap artistically and lyrically is matched by no one. I'm in competition with him to excel as a filmmaker and actor. If you want to hear his music jump on YouTube.
Who is your celebrity crush?
The only person who's a celebrity in my life: Portia Freno. Check her blog!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Learn to breathe properly.
The Maze Runner hits screens in Oz from Thursday 16th September.