5 Questions With ‘Divergent’ Writer Veronica Roth
“Harry Potter” is over — probably forever. “The Twilight Saga” is drawing its second-to-last breaths in the box office and, while “The Hunger Games” hasn’t yet hit theaters, March will be here and gone before we know it.
Derive comfort from Veronica Roth’s deal with Summit, that’s what. The studio that brought “Twilight” to life snapped up the rights to her debut novel “Divergent” last March, and with “Snow White and the Huntsman” writer Evan Daugherty tackling the adaptation, we’re more excited than ever to see Roth’s chilling vision of the future on the big screen.
In honor of Dystopian Week — an online celebration we’re having with our friends at theFABlife and Hollywood Crush — we talked to Ms. Roth and got the scoop on her plans for “Divergent Movie”, her casting wishes and whether she’d like to show up in cameos, a la Stephenie Meyer. (We should mention that we once mistook the 22-year-old author for a movie star at a Summit party so… yes please, cameo.)
People inevitably will make comparisons to Stephenie Meyer, since you’re both YA novelists signed to Summit. She’s producing her first film now — are you planning to be Meyer-level involved in the making of “Divergent Movie?”
Not really. At least, I haven’t really been involved with it for very long, so it’s hard to say. But I really just love books and I never really watch movies. I’m more into the slow, sort of meditative process and movies are like bam-bam! Bam-bam-bam! So I don’t know if it’s really the place for me. I don’t know, it’s been really fun to see “Twilight” from the inside, but I’m really just observing, I’m not really involved.
How about casting? The studio has the final say, but are you hoping for anyone in particular?
I really don’t know — when it comes to movies, I kind of like to see unknown people. Not faces that have been everywhere, so that would be my dream cast, I guess. Really talented but not really known.
The first book was optioned before you started writing the final two books of the trilogy. Has knowing you’ll be seeing these characters in the flesh altered your path? Have you started writing more cinematically?
You know, I think that’s how I write naturally. I think we sometimes imagine what it looks like and all the surroundings — all the things people think about when they’re filming a movie, and then I just write it down, so nothing has really changed, not really. I think it would be different if they cast people while I was writing, because then I wouldn’t be able to separate them in my mind but, right now, it’s still all my imagination.
I think it wouldn’t be terrible, but I’d rather keep them the way they are and not yet what’s happening in the real world. Just what’s happening in my fake world.
Meyer has cameos in a few of the “Twilight” films. Is that something you want or something you’d actively avoid?
I wouldn’t say no. I think it would be so fun. And it’s not an experience you think you’re ever going to have. So, yeah, I’d like that. But I’m not like, “I must have one!”
I’d like to be one of the Dauntless trying to jump on the train. Or I guess… off the train. That would be fun. I don’t think they’d let me do that, because I’m uncoordinated and have poor balance.
That train-jumping scene is pretty brutal. Your book, “The Hunger Games” and some others — they’re not for the faint of heart. What defines YA books and movies these days? It is simply the age of the protagonists?
Partially, it’s themes. If I have more adult themes in the book, and the protagonist was young and the voice was old, it might be an adult book. But these themes are intensely adolescent, it’s having to define yourself and not knowing if you can, especially at such a young age, and I think that’s very teen concern. It certainly was my concern when I was a teen.
I think it’s mostly about the protagonist and the themes but not so much about the content anymore. It used to be, you’d kind of have to censor yourself if you were writing young adult, but I don’t really think that’s the case at all these days.