Kate Winslet To Get Smart In ‘Divergent’

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Sometimes a rumor is true, and this is one of those times: Kate Winslet has been confirmed to be joining the cast of "Divergent," the upcoming screen adaptation of Veronica Roth's young adult best seller.

While sources in the entertainment media were saying the smart money was on Winslet to appear as Jeanine Matthews in the movie as early as January (IMDb had already added her to the cast list), it wasn't until Thursday afternoon that Summit Entertainment finally made it official and announced that Winslet had signed on for the role.

In "Divergent," Oscar-winner Winslet will be appear in the dystopian sci-fi story as the leader of the Erudite Faction, a group of people who, after the collapse of global society, have taken in upon themselves to absorb any and all human knowledge.

Winslet, who knows how to bring a keen intelligence and imagination to her characters (watch "Iris," "Heavenly Creatures," "Sense and Sensibility," or even "Titanic" for evidence), would seem to be an ideal choice for Jeanine Matthews. And while Winslet doesn't seem to have many career worries at the moment - she has one movie awaiting release, "Labor Day," and another in the works, "A Little Chaos" - having a role in a successful franchise is almost never a bad thing. And given the growing popularity of Roth's book and its sequels, insiders are saying "Divergent" could be another teen-themed blockbuster in the manner of "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games."

It's been a lively couple of weeks for "Divergent" casting news - Theo James ("Golden Boy") was announced to be starring alongside Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants") last Friday, and Jai Courtney ("A Good Day To Die Hard"), Ansel Elgort (the upcoming "Carrie" reboot), Zoe Kravitz ("X-Men: First Class"), and Maggie Q ("Nikita") have all been confirmed to join the cast. Aaron Eckhart ("The Dark Knight"), Ray Stevenson ("Thor"), and Miles Teller ("Project X") are reported to be in negotiation for roles, but haven't yet signed on the line.

Neil Burger, who directed "Limitless," "The Lucky Ones," and "The Illusionist," will be directing "Divergent," and shooting in expected to begin next month in Chicago, the city that was the model for the devastated futuristic community in the book. The film is currently on track to open in theaters March 2014.