Dylan O’Brien, the charismatic 23-year-old star of last year’s surprising box office hit The Maze Runner, which grossed $340 million globally, was discovered on his YouTube channel. And how’s this for millennial swagger? O’Brien’s video of him asking a girl to his senior prom has more than a million views. (She said yes.) Since then, he’s gone on to star in five seasons of the MTV series Teen Wolf, and this fall returns to the big screen with the highly anticipated sequel The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.
On Saturdays, O’Brien can be found in a pickup softball league he was invited to join by his Teen Wolf co-star Ian Bohen, but he steps up his physical game before production. For Scorch Trials, O’Brien and his stunt double trained hard for weeks on sprint and hill drills. “I had to get my legs in shape so I had a base for doing the running scenes 12, 13 times in a row,” he says.
It’s always a tricky transition for a young actor to make the leap out of YA material. But this summer O’Brien did so literally—jumping into a fire on the set of director Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon (2016), a retelling of the 2010 BP oil spill that devastated the Gulf of Mexico and took down 11 crewmen on the exploding rig. O’Brien, who plays the youngest crew member, Caleb Holloway—with whom he’s bonded during many late-night conversations over a passed bottle of whiskey—stars alongside alpha males Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg.
Yep, we’re thinking the same thing: no more softball for this guy.