Although the young adult film adaptation of Divergent doesn’t come out for another month and a half, Lionsgate is already getting the sequel, Insurgent, lined up. We don’t even know if Divergent will be a hit, but it seems that Lionsgate is confident that it will be. While Divergent‘s director, Neil Burger, will not return for the sequel, Lionsgate has already found the guy who will.
According to Deadline, Lionsgate has hired Robert Schwentke to direct Insurgent. The sequel film is expected to go into production sometime during the spring, aiming for a quick turnaround and a March 2015 release date. Insurgent‘s short production schedule is exactly why Neil Burger couldn’t commit to direct the sequel. He has a scheduling conflict of some sort and is completely unavailable.
It seems like the film series is making a serious downgrade with the new director. While Neil Burger isn’t a top-tier director, he’s competent and reliable when he’s behind the camera. With films such as The Illusionist and Limitless on his resume, Neil Burger is more than a solid choice. Robert Schwentke, on the other hand, is a step below mediocre. Schwentke recently directed the comic book movie dud R.I.D.P. (Rest In Peace Department), R.E.D. (Retired, Extremely Dangerous), and The Time Traveler’s Wife. Maybe Lionsgate wants to cut corners and save some money. Why not just hire Jeff Wadlow or Len Wiseman? Is Lionsgate waiting to hire one of them for the third and final movie in the series, Allegiant?
It remains to be seen if Divergent will become the next Hunger Games or Twilight, or fumble as a non-starter like Beautiful Creatures and The Golden Compass. Lionsgate has released trailers and images from Divergent, but I remain completely unsold on the film based on the laughable clip released a few months ago. As for Insurgent, I have even less interest with a director like Robert Schwentke at the helm.
Divergent is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, where people are separated into five distinct factions. Its citizens are divided based on dominant personality traits, but some are unique and cannot be classified. These exceptional people are called “Divergent,” but rather than being celebrated, there’s no place for them in the film’s world. The story follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior, who is discovered to be Divergent and must figure out how to stay alive.
Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) and Vanessa Taylor (Hope Springs) co-wrote the screenplay, while Neil Burger (Limitless) directed the film. Divergent stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Tony Goldwyn, Ashley Judd, and Mekhi Phifer. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) is currently writing the script for Insurgent.
Divergent will hit theaters everywhere on March 21, in IMAX, while Insurgent will open wide on March 20, 2015.