All-Star Cast Begins Production on YA Adaptation ‘Divergent’

Bryan Enk
Movie Talk

Hollywood continues its search for the next Young Adult sensation as principal photography has officially commenced on "Divergent," a YA screen adaptation that should prove rather successful if only because at first glance it could so easily be mistaken for "The Hunger Games."

Well, sort of. Based on the book by first-time novelist Veronica Roth, "Divergent" is actually more sci-fi-heavy -- and perhaps more satirical -- than "The Hunger Games," taking place in a future world where the population is divided into distinct factions based on personalities, allowing for a relatively more benign-ish kind of Big Brother control and organization without all of the frowned-upon brainwashing. Our Katniss Everdeen stand-in is Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), a young woman who is deemed 'Divergent' and therefore not really belonging to any one group. As she is allowed to follow her own path and choose her own group, she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, revealing this world's regulators to not be so benign-ish after all.

The spotlight here is on Woodley, who is now finally embracing life after "The Descendants" with a vengeance. Besides being poised to follow in the footsteps of Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence and become the next YA super-starlet, Woodley is also set to become a comic book icon with her upcoming turn as Mary Jane Watson in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." She's also attached to another YA adaptation, the decidedly more real world-set "The Fault in Our Stars," and has the Sundance hit "The Spectacular Now" opening in August.

Woodley has quite the supporting cast backing her up, with Theo James taking on the role of Tobias Eaton, aka Four, the instructor of the initiates to the Dauntless faction and Tris' later love interest. The production has some Oscar-caliber class as well, with Kate Winslet playing Jeanine Matthews, the leader of the Erudite faction and one of the film's chief antagonists.

The rest of the cast includes Ansel Elgort as Caleb, Ray Stevenson as Marcus, Maggie Q as Tori, Mekhi Phifer as Max, Woodley's "The Spectacular Now" pal Miles Teller as Peter, Zoe Kravitz as Christina, Christian Madsen as Al, Ben Lloyd-Hughes as Will, Amy Newbold as Molly, Ben Lamb as Edward and the Son of "Die Hard" himself, Jai Courtney, as Eric.

"Divergent" commenced with principal photography today in Chicago under the direction of Neil Burger ("Limitless"). The film will hit theaters on March 21, 2014.