You know the studio has faith in you if, even though the only thing anyone has seen from your film is a single still, they’ve already given the go-ahead to begin work on a sequel. But that’s the exact situation that the filmmakers behind Divergent find themselves in. In fact, Summit Entertainment has already hired Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun) to start working on the follow-up.
Divergent is based on the best-selling young adult novel by Veronica Roth, and Duffield has been tapped to adapt the sequel, Insurgent. The action follows the continued adventures of heroine Tris Prior (played by Shailene Woodley). The second installment finds her as war looms on the horizon. According to Deadline “Sides will be chosen, secrets will emerge, and Tris will risk everything as she struggles to harness her incredible power.”
There are some striking similarities between the stories of Divergent and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, which, of course, set the box office on fire last year. Both properties are dystopian in nature, both revolve around a corrupt system of government, and each is headlined by a strong female protagonist. You have to assume that Summit is banking on this being the next Hunger Games.
Still, Divergent’s story is unique enough not to be a total clone, and it could be interesting. The plot revolves a society where everyone is broken down and divided into one of five categories, based on personality type. But then there are the Divergents, individuals who don’t fit in anywhere, and the problem of what to do with them. When Tris is lumped into this category, she must discover what makes her, and people like her, so dangerous.
Directed by Neil Burger (Limitless), production just began in April, but the studio has already given Divergent the March 21, 2014 opening slot—the same one that launched The Hunger Games into the stratosphere. The film also stars Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phifer, Maggie Q, and Ray Stevenson.