Young adult book-to-film adaptations are nothing new, but since The Hunger Games rocked the box office, the race to snag the next hot property seems more rabid than ever. We just got Warm Bodies and Beautiful Creatures, and still have The Host, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Ender’s Game, and more on the way in 2013, but thanks to solid source material and a cast that gets better each day, the 2014 adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent is looking better and better.
The film will star Shailene Woodley (recently cast as Mary Jane in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) as the lead character, Beatrice Prior, a teen living in a future world where the population is divided into five factions, each treasuring different values.
Erudite is dedicated to intelligence, Candor to honesty, Amity to peace, and Dauntless to bravery, while Beatrice’s Abnegation puts selflessness above all else. Beatrice is born into worshiping that ideal, however, come the Choosing Ceremony, she’ll have the opportunity to decide for herself whether she wants to stick with her family and live a life driven by altruism or switch to another faction. Either way, she’ll have to complete a rigorous initiation process before being considered a full-fledged member.
Summit Entertainment kicked things off by bringing Woodley aboard hot off her award-winning performance in The Descendants, and now the production’s got an Academy Award winner, too. The studio just dropped the official word; Kate Winslet won’t play Beatrice’s mother as many have speculated, but the leader of the Erudite faction, Jeanine Matthews. Jeanine is one of Beatrice’s main adversaries as someone who takes a liking to staining Abnegation’s good name. With a sky-high IQ, it’s Jeanine’s calculating nature and overwhelming intelligence that makes her such a threat, so hopes were high a talent like Winslet will be able to bring those layers to the forefront.
In addition to Winslet, Divergent also recently picked up Jai Courtney, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, and Theo James. Courtney recently starred in A Good Day to Die Hard with Bruce Willis and, here, is locked for the role of Eric, another character who gives Beatrice a bit of a tough time. Kravitz is due to step in as Christina, a non-Abnegation friend Beatrice makes during initiation while Elgort will play her brother, Caleb, who also must decide his fate at the Choosing Ceremony.
It’s fun lining up the characters with such appropriate faces, but, of the bunch, the ultimate casting highlight is Q as a character named Tori. She hails from Dauntless, sports a hawk tattoo and can certainly handle herself in a fight. Hopefully she brings something fresh to the role, but at this point, I’m picturing Nikita in Divergent and considering Tori’s qualities, there might not be anything wrong with that. Last up is the biggest role aside from Beatrice, her love interest, Four. (Yes, his name is Four and you should wait for the film to find out why. It comes with a beautifully twisted backstory.)
If Woodley wasn’t enough of a reason to keep an eye on Divergent, Winslet, Q and even the supporting characters should seal the deal. Similar to Hunger Games, Roth’s book packs the appeal of an apocalyptic setting, characters that actually feel like real people, and a narrative that’s so much more than some schmaltzy supernatural romance. If you’re curious enough to give it a go, there’s more than enough time to read the book and its sequel, Insurgent, before Divergent hits the big screen on March 21, 2014.
Source: Summit Entertainment
Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.
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