Local lad breaks onto the big screen

Jonty Wright stars in Maze Runner: The Death Cure, currently on circuit.

Explosions, hanging buses, moving trains, backs of planes and lots of waiting around thrown in – this was local lad, Jonty Wright’s experience of being in Maze Runner: The Death Cure, now on circuit.

Jonty, a Grade 10 pupil at Bishops, who grew up in Hout Bay and now lives in Constantia Deurdrif, cut his teeth in movies at 13 as the lead child’s double in The Dark Tower with Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

The Dark Tower is a continuation of Stephen King’s novel series of the same name, with Idris Elba starring as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a quest to protect the Dark Tower – a mythical structure which supports all realities, while Matthew McConaughey plays his nemesis and Tom Taylor stars as Jake Chambers, a New York
boy who becomes Roland’s apprentice.

It was an incredible experience for Jonty, said his mother Robyn Wright.

“His school, Bishops, was so supportive and the people he worked with, really fantastic.”

The sets for The Dark Tower ranged from “burning villages” outside Rawsonville to canyons at Blyde River and some in-studio and Cederberg scenes too.

Ms Wright said because Jonty had to work each day on set, he was given his own tutor, driver and trailer.

They were given “sides”, the term for the day’s words and scene. Since minors are only allowed to work a certain number of hours a day, Jonty’s role was manifold: he would give the main actors a context for their parts by acting a scene to them, then they in turn would be filmed; the scenes would often be set up with Jonty for movement as a practice run, then Tom Taylor would come and do the part himself; and Jonty would act in scenes shot from a distance or from behind.

From this experience, Jonty was offered a role as an “Immune Bus Kid” in this latest Maze Runner (age restriction 16) and he ended up being the one who carried the cure. Jonty is one of the immune kids who is rescued in a crazy bus scene.

The first instalment of The Maze Runner, an American dystopian science fiction action thriller, was released in 2014.

The story follows 16-year-old Thomas, portrayed by Dylan O’Brien, who awakens in a rusty elevator with no memory of who he is, only to learn he’s been delivered to the middle of an intricate maze, along with a large number of other boys, who have been trying to find their way out of the ever-changing labyrinth – all while establishing a functioning society in what they call the Glade.

A sequel, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, was released in 2015 and the third and final film, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, was released on January 26.

Capetonians will be thrilled to see that in the movie much of the Mother City can be seen, from the cable car road to the Cape Town International Convention Centre and many of Cape Town’s streets – still recognisable, even after computer generated imagery.

Jonty, now 15, will be one of the leads in the Bishop’s school play this year, Of Mice and Men, where he plays George, towards the end of next month.