Mar 15, 2014

SPECIAL GUEST POST: Spencer Bloom on Divergent!

Today I have a special guest, Spencer Bloom talking about the upcoming movie, Divergent! So excited to see the movie! Spencer has a little bit of insider information on the movie and he wrote up this special post to share it all. Check it out:

Divergent’s Journey to the Silver Screen

Many of you have likely heard about, and are anticipating, the upcoming release of Divergent, the film based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth. If you’re a reader of this site, you’ve probably seen Jessica’s rave reviews for the other books in the series, Allegiant and Insurgent. The film versions of these sequels are already being planned, but first comes Divergent!
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Divergent takes place in the future, within a dystopian, decaying Chicago. The protagonist, Tris, is about to undergo her placement test, which is meant help her determine which of society’s five “factions” she belongs in, based on her most prominent personality traits. When she discovers she possesses multiple aptitudes and equal abilities that place her in three different factions, she realizes she is Divergent. Tris is warned never to speak to anyone about these abnormal results, otherwise she will risk the repercussions of being an outsider in a world that only allows five types of people. After she chooses to live in Dauntless, a faction for the brave, she realizes hiding in plain sight may not be as easy as she hoped. As the city erupts into chaos and fighting between the factions, she is faced with many difficult decisions that could drastically impact the lives of herself and those she cares about.
Filmmakers went to great lengths to recreate the decrepit city Roth crafted in her books for the film. Massive sections of the downtown Chicago area were shut down last summer to film scenes, including the iconic Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and parts of Michigan Avenue. In addition to that, the crew created an entire housing project in the downtown area to for the Abnegation faction’s main base. There are even rumors of an intense aerial stunt filmed on the John Hancock Tower, one of Chicago's most famous skyscrapers. You’d be surprised what the city of Chicago lets filmmakers do in its streets; all of the Transformers films have also been shot in the city, and The Dark Knight famously flipped a semi down LaSalle Street.
Director Neil Burger reportedly decided to stay true to his style and vision of the film, rather than go the traditional route and interpretation of a dystopian future. He told Collider: “I wanted to do something different. We’ve seen a lot of post-apocalyptic movies, we’ve seen these other young adult movies. So I just thought that there was a way to do it in a much more cinematic way, to tell it visually, and also to tell it in a more real way.” For those who are unfamiliar with Burger and his style, you can stream some of his other films, like The Illusionist and Limitless online through platforms like DirecTV and Netflix. He’s described the filming style of Divergent as “something more real” than his other films: “Not raw in a gritty way but raw in an immediate and intimate way.”
            A big part of capturing that rawness comes from hiring the right stars for the film. Golden Globe nominated up-and-coming star Shailene Woodley will be playing the lead role of Tris. It’s the role of a lifetime, sure to make her a household name, but also one that carries about $85 million in production costs. When the time came to make the decision whether or not to take the role of Tris, Shailene said she reached out to Jennifer Lawrence for advice. Lawrence urged her to take the role.
            The other lead role in the series, Four, is being played by the relatively unknown British actor Theo James. While he may not be known all that well now, expect Robert Pattinson-levels of fandom from hordes of teenage girls once they catch him in Divergent. There is also no shortage of well known names in the supporting cast, either. Oscar winner Kate Winslet will be playing the villainess Jeanine Matthews, in Winslet’s first role as the antagonist. She told USA Today on the set how committed she was to the role: "[Jeanine] walks down the corridor and sort of just leaves this vapor trail. I knew I had to bring that intimidation." Other supporting roles have gone to stars such as Ashley Judd and Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn, who will act as Tris’s parents.
            If you do get a chance to catch Divergent, and love it as much as the book, you’re in luck. Summit Entertainment is already planning to start filming the sequel this May, with a release date set for March 21, 2015.

Thanks, for the info Spencer! 

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