Kaya Scodelario has big pirate boots to fill, but the actress seems undaunted about taking on Keira Knightley’s old position as the female lead in Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Kaya will star in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as astronomer Carina Smyth – rather than Keira’s Elizabeth Swann. But like Keira, she’ll be on a journey with Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Orlando Bloom as Will Turner.

“I respect Keira’s career greatly, but we’re playing two very different characters and I come from a very different world,” the 23-year-old explained. “I really love her career and think she’s done great things but kind of want to put my own spin on it.”

Kaya herself grew up watching the franchise, which made it “surreal” to become part of it, she said. “You step on a set that you recognise from being 10 years old and there’s something really magical about that.

“It takes you back to the basics of film and entertainment and losing yourself for a few hours, and it really felt like we were doing that.”

The Pirates film isn’t due until 2017, but Kaya is currently on the big screen in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, where she stars as Teresa.

Her character is one of the “Gladers”, who have escaped the Maze – but they now find themselves in the barren, desolate Scorch, searching for clues about a mysterious organisation, WCKD.

In this sequel to 2014′s The Maze Runner, Teresa is drifting away from the group. “She is the only one who has her memories back so she remembers what it was like to have a family and to lose them in a really, really horrible way and I think that’s an isolating feeling for her,” Kaya said.

“She feels a bit lonely and distant from them.”

But the actress, who is close friends with co-stars including Dylan O’Brien and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, said the rest of the cast distracted her from her intense focus on the character.

“When I’m at work I do try and embody it as much as possible,” she explained. “I get quite dark and destroy myself a little bit, but that’s what I do – and I enjoy it, and it’s how I do my work.

Kaya Scodelario with her Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials co-stars
Kaya Scodelario with her Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials co-stars (Vianney Le Caer/Invision)

“But with this group, I love them so much and they’re so much fun that it’s impossible to just be alone all the time and they’d come over and be like, ‘Kaya, cheer up!’

“We managed to have fun in between scenes.”

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is in cinemas now.