It was standing-room only in Oak Park and River Forest High School’s Little Theater Thursday as three film stars visited the school to promote a fall blockbuster.
Dylan O’Brien (the teen heartthrob star of MTV’s “Teen Wolf”), Kaya Scodelario (best known for the British teen drama “Skins”), and Will Poulter (who appeared in the comedy “We’re the Millers”) dropped by to promote their upcoming film “The Maze Runner.”
“I think we made a really faithful adaptation, so if you’re a fan of the book, a fan of the spirit of the book, it will be faithful up on the screen,” O’Brien told the musical theater, film and English classes crowded into the seventh-period assembly.
“The Maze Runner,” released in 2009, is the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic novels by author James Dashner’s. The book, which spent a year on the New York Times bestseller list, is popular at OPRF as well: It was selected last year as the winner of an all-school library vote.
“I didn’t really understand what a big deal the book and these actors are among teenagers. Students are in a tizzy trying to get seventh-period teachers to let them out of class to attend,” said OPRF spokeswoman Karin Sullivan in an email the day before the event.
The 30-minute OPRF assembly started with a trailer for the film, followed by a Q and A session in which about a dozen students were able to get their burning questions answered by the stars.
The actors shared their excitement and fears about their chosen profession, performing their own stunts in The Maze Runner, and Scodelario and Poulter’s challenges masking their British English with an American accent.
Poulter said he mastered his American accent by watching a lot of American television shows like “Friends” and goofing around, doing impressions with his sister.
“Once you have that down, you try not to think about it too much,” he said.
OPRF sophomore Zayd Muhammad, 15, is a member of an acting class that attended the assembly, though he’s not certain he will pursue it as a career.
“It was pretty exciting to, like, see the girls scream for them. I didn’t know Dylan O’Brien before this,” he said after the assembly.
OPRF, the only Chicago-area school visited by the stars, was selected thanks to 2010 graduate Ashley DeJesus, an intern at public relations firm Allied Integrated Marketing. When asked for suggestions of schools where the stars could be sent to drum up excitement for “The Maze Runner,” she suggested OPRF.
“I suggested OPRF since it’s our hometown – some hometown lovin’,” she said. “I’m still in contact with some of the teachers here.”