by Kate Spencer
Divergent Movie may be the most anticipated book-to-movie adaptation since The Hunger Games got its turn last year. With a release date of March 21, 2014, announced yesterday and rumors that Limitless director Neil Bruger is attached to the project, all we need now are a couple of pretty faces to obsess over. The roles of 16-year-old Tris Prior and her love interest, Tobias (Four), are sure to be a big get for any actor and we already have a few favorites already in mind. So does Twitter, where people are constantly proclaiming their love for certain stars they see fit for the leads. Let’s discuss some of our favorites here at VH1 Celeb headquarters, and then we want you to tell us who you envision getting their Dauntless on on the big movie screen.
Taissa Farmiga is my number one pick to play Tris Prior, and I even have the author’s approval on this one. Veronica Roth once replied to my tweet about Taissa as Tris with “ooh. She’s spot on, looks wise.” Not only does she completely embody Tris physically, but her raw and vulnerable performance on American Horror Story proves she’s got the acting chops, too. Our friend and NextMovie editor Breanne Heldman loves Molly Quinn, telling Hollywood Crush, “Molly has a sass and intelligence that’s also so totally Tris Prior.” Castle fans, do you agree?
While I’ve struggled trying to find a Four I like (Skins cutie Luke Pasqualino comes closest for me, for now), VH1 Celebrity editor Sabrina Rojas Weiss is rooting for Pretty Little Liars’ Tyler Blackburn. And hello — how perfect of a Tobias (Four) would he be?!?! Brooding, handsome, chiseled … we like this one, for sure.
On Twitter, fans have been very vocal about Taissa (high fives), as well as Max Irons and Colton Haynes for Tobias (Four). While we think the delectable Max Irons is probably out of the running due to his role in The Host (opposite Saoirse Ronan, who’d also make a perfect Tris), we’re curious about Colton, who is incredibly hunky on Teen Wolf. We’ve got them, and other interesting contenders (and all your tweeted suggestions!), in our gallery below.
Who do you imagine as Tris Prior and Tobias (Four)? Write in other nominees in the comments!
The Dauntless train is slowly (but surely) pulling away from the station.
To be sure, progress on the big-screen movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dazzling dystopian tome “Divergent” has been anything but speeding-locomotive fast. Since the movie rights were purchased by Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment in March 2011, the only concrete news has been the appointment of screenwriter Evan Daugherty (though rumor has it that “Limitless” helmer Neil Burger is in talks to direct). Well, that all changed when Summit Entertainment announced that a release date has been set for the movie. Mark your calendars for March 21, 2014!
For the uninitiated, “Divergent Movie” is set in a near-future Chicago, where society has been split into five different factions dedicated to the cultivation of a specific virtue. All 16-year-olds must pledge allegiance to a faction. Readers meet Beatrice “Tris” Prior during the lead up to her big decision—one which will change the course of her life and many others.
With a release date set, we couldn’t help but wonder which pretty young thing in Hollywood will be pegged to play our heroine Tris Prior and become the next big thing in YA movie adaptations (a la Jennifer Lawrence). As such, I assembled my fellow MTV YA Book Club members (yes, this exists) to gather their picks, which include a vampire, a fashionista, a dutiful daughter and a ghost. Check ‘em out after the jump!
I’m pulling for AnnaSophia Robb. Physically, she’s just about perfect for it: She’s Tris-sized at 5’2″, and pretty enough that we’ll be happy to watch her for a few hours on a big screen—but quirky enough that we’ll buy her as a character who self-identifies as “not beautiful.” And since AnnaSophia is basically exploding right now, with a few high-profile parts (including Carrie Bradshaw herself in “SATC” prequel “The Carrie Diaries”), it’d be nice to give “Divergent film” a marketing boost with a newly minted big name. —Brooke Tarnoff, NextMovie
While playing cheerleader-turned-”Vampire Barbie” Caroline Forbes on “The Vampire Diaries,” Candice Accola has had to convey the three very qualities that make Tris “Divergent”: She’s brave, warmhearted and smart as hell. It’ll be hard to make her look like a properly modest Abnegation girl at first, but that’s part of why she broke out of her family’s faction in the first place, right? “TVD” is way campier than “Divergent” should be, but I’m eager to see Candice rise to the task. —Sabrina Rojas Weiss, VH1 Celebrity
Molly Quinn is my Tris. OK, so I’m still a little bitter that she didn’t get the role of Clary Fray in “The Mortal Instruments”—Lily Collins is great though, so that cushions the blow—but I’m so ready for this supporting player on TV’s “Castle” to have a major breakout on the big screen. On the show, Molly brings impressive depth to a small role, giving Alexis an uncanny mix of vulnerability and strength: two big qualities our Tris must possess. Off camera, Molly has a sass and intelligence that’s also so totally Tris.
Looking at casting for these big YA franchises recently, I know actors who live on TV rarely get the big leads, presumably for the scheduling difficulties doing both may create. But Molly’s role on “Castle” is small and hiatuses are easy given that her character is going to college, so boom! Summit, hear me out. —Breanne Heldman, NextMovie
I snuggled into Hollywood Crush’s Casting Couch more than a year ago to reveal my picks for tough-as-nails Tris… but that was before Taissa Farmiga gave us all the goosebumps on FX’s “American Horror Story.” As troubled teen Violet, Taissa delivered the kind of deeply nuanced performance you’d expect from an actor two or three times her age. (Plus, did we mention she’s kind of a dead ringer for author Veronica’s physical description of Tris?) No longer just Vera’s kid sister, “AHS” earned Taissa a legion of fans eager to see her hop the train as Tris. Including me. —Amy Wilkinson, Hollywood Crush
Who do you want to see as Tris Prior in “Divergent Movie”? Tell us in the comments!
Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment announced today that the filmed adaptation of the young adult adventure novel Divergent Movie will open wide in North America on March 21, 2014. So far, it has the release date all to itself (it’s sandwiched between Fox’s Me And My Shadow on March 14, 2014 and Paramount’s Noah on March 28). The book was written by 23-year-old author Veronica Roth and has topped the New York Times Best Sellers list since it was published in May 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers.
Divergent Movie is set in a future where America is divided into five ideological factions to stabilize society and uphold peace. Every citizen must choose a permanent faction at age 16 – either their own or another. The story focuses on Beatrice Prior, who is struggling to survive her initiation into the most aggressive and physically demanding of the factions. Evan Daugherty is penning the screenplay along with a yet-to-be-announced filmmaker. Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce under their Red Wagon Entertainment banner, along with Pouya Shahbazian.
Variety is reporting that Neil Burger (Limitless, The Illusionist) is in talks to direct Summit Entertainment’s Divergent Movie with filming planned to start in March for a release in early 2014. The movie will be based on Veronica Roth’s novel, which is described as follows:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice Prior renames herself Tris Prior and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris Prior also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Summit/Lionsgate also has rights to the sequel “Insurgent,” released in May. The untitled third book in the trilogy is due out in fall 2013.
Red Wagon topper Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing with Pouya Shabazian of FinePrint Productions. Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) wrote the script.
Neil Burger was previously attached to direct Sony’s video game adaptation Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune and recently signed on to helm an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s short story Animal Rescue.
Here’s a really awesome fan-made movie poster for the upcoming film “DIVERGENT”
The film adaptation for Divergent Movie is now officially in the pre-production phase, according to Deadline!
Reportedly, Snow White And The Huntsman screenwriter Evan Daugherty has now completed his work on the adapted screenplay for Veronica Roth’s best-seller, and the studio – Twilight and The Hunger Games studio Lionsgate – is looking to begin filming the project as early as this year!
No news of casting selections or a chosen director for the movie, yet, but if filming is to begin later this year, those headlines will soon follow.
When the news that Veronica Roth’s Divergent Movie and Insurgent reached over one million books sold!
Veronica Roth has always been “cautiously optimistic” about the fact that Summit bought the film rights to Divergent Movie, but now things are in motion. Deadline also reports that Summit has the film rights to book two of The Divergent Trilogy.
For the comments: Who do you hope to see get cast in Divergent Movie?
Veronica Roth has been coasting along on the New York Times’ Bestseller List for the better part of this year thanks to both Divergent and the recently released first sequel Insurgent.
According to a tweet from publisher Harper Collins yesterday, a new landmark has been reached for the series: Sales for the two books have now reached over one million copies!
That certainly doesn’t hurt Divergent’s chances of making it to a movie.
Last year, prior to Divergent’s release, Twilight film studio Summit Entertainment (now Lions Gate) snagged the movie adaptation rights to Divergent Movie and hired Snow White And The Huntsman screenwriter Evan Daugherty to adapt it.
In a (great) recent interview with Veronica Roth, she updated to say that it is still “so early in the process that I can’t say with any clarity what is going to happen” with the movie project.
Well, with the books now in seven digit sales numbers and the final installment on the way next fall, the process just might speed up soon!
Veronica Roth exploded onto the YA scene last year with her smash dystopian novel, Divergent. To promote its follow-up, Insurgent, she is touring the country this summer with several other authors on the Dark Days book tour. I had a chance to visit with Veronica while she was attending the BookExpo America convention in New York, the first stop on the tour.
Serena: Welcome to HEA, Veronica! You’re on a book tour with Aprilynne Pike, Elizabeth Norris and Bethany Griffin. How is the group promotion dynamic different from the “my-book-only” focus?
Veronica: I really like the group tour better than going it alone. First of all, it kind of takes the pressure off a little. I’m not a naturally extroverted person. But I also like it because it brings in new fans. For example, someone who really loves Aprilynne Pike’s books might pick up mine and vice versa. I think it’s really good for all the authors involved.
Serena: Your blog is always fun to read due to your quirky sense of humor. You even have a “joke” title and cover art for book three of the Divergent Trilogy, which features a container of laundry soap and the title, Detergent. Clearly, you are a fan of fun. Have any of your close friends or family been surprised that you would write such dark-themed books?
Veronica: Yeah, I think some people were surprised about the dark themes because I’m just not a violent or a dark person, really. But I think they adapted pretty well. They know that I’m not the books or vice versa. They got over it pretty quickly.
Serena: I love how the taglines for the series really set the stage for the theme of each novel and build upon one another to give the gist of the series. Divergent’s is “One choice can transform you,” and Insurgent’s is “One choice can destroy you.” Just for fun, what would the tagline for Detergent be?
Veronica: I think it’s “One choice can disinfect you.” I like to poke a little fun at myself and my books. It’s nice to have a little laugh at yourself every now and then, so Detergent is sort of how I do that.
Serena: Readers have left comments on your blog such as, “I’m the one at Comic-Con who gave you the handmade (fill in the blank).” Do you have a special place you keep all the material evidence of your fan love?
Veronica: I do. I keep it in my office. And some of it is great! People make me key chains … someone attached a Dauntless symbol to a silver pen. That one is what I use to sign books. I use that a lot. I like to keep them around because they remind me that people are waiting for these books and that they really love them. It gives me motivation in those times when I’m not feeling very motivated.
Serena: Do you ever cringe when readers ask questions or make statements about who lives, who dies, who’s a traitor, etc., that might spoil some of the surprises for those in the crowd who have not yet read the books?
Veronica: It happens a lot on the Internet, like on Twitter where things are pretty public. I try and reply, and then someone’s like, “No! You spoiled it!” But spoilers are everywhere, even in reviews. So I figure if people really don’t want to find spoilers they usually don’t — and if they want to find them, they will. Hopefully the books aren’t spoiled because of a few things you may have been told beforehand.
Serena: How about when your readers refer to Tobias by his given name rather than “Four,” the name he adopted when he joined the Dauntless faction (and by which he was known through most of Divergent). Do you worry it will spoil the first book for those who haven’t yet read it?
Veronica: Not really. It’s just so hard to try to ward off those comments. And it’s kind of my fault, because I keep calling him Tobias, so …? But it’s not a particular spoiler. A lot of people figure it out before anyone says anything or before they’ve read the whole book.
Serena: How would you define romance? And how does that definition apply to your writing philosophy and this series?
Veronica: I think romance is friendship and attraction sort of meeting together and that does influence what I’m writing a lot. I try to establish the attraction, obviously, but I also think it’s important to show the characters having actual conversations about things other than their feelings for each other — and to develop their friendship on the page. That was really important to me. And they have mutual respect for each other and I tried to establish that also. All those things that I believe about relationships and what makes a healthy relationship really made it into the book.
Serena: For a novel with such serious themes, the romance between Tobias and Tris serves as an anchor to the story without slowing it down. As a writer, was it difficult to fine-tune those scenes so that a simple touch of the hand could convey such deep connection and comfort?
Veronica: It did take some fine-tuning. I had to think a lot about my teenage experience of love and just how you focus so much on all the little details. How every touch can feel like your heart’s going to explode or you’re going to throw up or whatever … so I had to edit a lot. It’s hard, sometimes, to go back and relive that experience, but I just tried to remember how exciting everything was when I was just falling in love.
Serena: And there is a sort of life-or-death feeling in the teen romantic experience that sort of plays into your story.
Veronica: Right. Everything feels like life or death when you’re that age. And there’s some truth to that. You’re making all these huge decisions and you want everything to last forever even though it can’t sometimes. Trying to capture that life-or-death feeling is a little tricky.
Serena: A lot of popular YA fiction creates romantic tension by the “opposites attract” factor — or authors skew the idea to pit characters against each other or separate them in some way to ratchet up the romance. You chose for Tobias and Tris to have more in common. They both reject the same faction (Abnegation) in favor of Dauntless. They are both Divergent. Was there a specific motivation behind giving your heroes so much in common?
Veronica: I think that’s how I see love. I see it developing from friendship. Common ground is a strong basis for friendship. My husband is my best friend and we have a lot in common even though we’re admittedly different people. I think it evolves from how I see relationships working. You know, the opposites attract thing happens all the time, but so does the best friends thing. It’s just a great kind of relationship in fiction.
Serena: Tris has a hard time saying she loves Tobias aloud, and the first time she does, she says it in a way that he won’t hear, prior to doing something that she believes could make him stop loving her. Are you, like Tris, someone who is hesitant to pronounce “I love you” too soon?
Veronica: Not really. I guess I haven’t had the opportunity to test it that much. (laughs) I’ve only been in two serious relationships and one of them ended in marriage. But yeah, I don’t have huge issues with it. You have to say “I love you” knowing that the feeling you have could either change or become deeper and stronger over time. I think Tris puts a lot a pressure on herself. She has to be so sure of knowing exactly what she feels. And I don’t put that kind of pressure on myself.
Serena: Tobias is just the opposite; he’s more open. Do you see more of yourself in his expression that way?
Veronica: I kind of do. Actually, he’s a lot more like me than Tris is and I’ve realized that over time. He’s pretty sure of himself in different ways and sort of private in ways but I think he’s always certain of how he feels about Tris and he just doesn’t think it’s a big deal to tell her exactly what the experience he’s having is.
Serena: In Insurgent, the romance between Tris and Tobias has matured, both physically and emotionally, from where they left off in Divergent, yet they are still very much two teenagers in love. How do you straddle the fence of keeping their romance — and their response to romance — so age appropriate while they are dealing with life and death, adult-size horrors?
Veronica: I don’t really think about what’s “age appropriate” for my audience because I think they can handle quite a bit, but I do try to think about what’s honest and true to my characters who have grown up in situations where they’ve been taught to handle these things very carefully and that they’re very powerful. As far as their romance goes, Tris is afraid of physical intimacy and Tobias is a little uncertain, so it would be a little unnatural for them to move very quickly. It would feel very forced. I just try to think about them and what they would actually do. And they’ve only been together for, like, two months, and they haven’t had a lot of time to be alone. There’s only so much that can go on!
Serena: Summit Entertainment, the company that brought Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight (The Twilight Saga) series to theaters, has optioned the film rights for Divergent Movie. As an author, that has to be a huge pat on the back — the thought that someone would consider making your book into a movie …
Veronica: It’s really flattering and it’s so shocking. I never even thought about it when the book was published. It was like, “Oh! And there’s also this element?” It’s pretty great. Cool. But it’s so early in the process that I can’t say with any clarity what is going to happen.
Serena: A couple of years ago you publicly vowed (on your blog) that you would jump into a pool filled with marshmallows if you achieved success as an author (as in: signed a book deal) and … you not only did it (using a bathtub rather than a pool, of course, because that would be an incredible amount of marshmallows) but you posted the video online for all to see. What sort of fun video should we expect from you if the film version of Divergent actually makes it to the silver screen someday?
Veronica: Hmm … well, I feel like I’ll have to be in a tub of something else in order to keep with the theme. I’ve always wanted to jump into a pool of Jell-O. That may be really hard (to make happen), but for something as incredible as a movie coming out? So … yeah. I’ll call it. Jell-O.
Serena: And now you’ve said it in front of millions of USA TODAY’s HEA readers, so …
Veronica: Yeah. It’s official now. I can’t back down.
Serena: Jell-O it is! You’ve been fairly engaged in the world of dystopian Chicago for a while now. Have you started getting an inkling about what you might write when you’ve finished the Divergent Trilogy?
Veronica: You know, I really try to focus on what’s right in front of me. So I haven’t thought very much about what I’ll do next. I know that I’ll be writing for young adults for a long time. Mostly because I just love the readers and the teachers and librarians that I interact with. So that’s all I can really say. I have a few ideas, but nothing really solid.
Serena: There’s such amazing writing going on in YA right now. It’s a great place to live.
Veronica: Yeah. YA is a wonderful genre. There’s so much room for invention and creativity. It’s remarkable. Especially right now.
Serena: Some reviewers and fan sites have likened the world you’ve created in The Divergent Trilogy to the same sort of alchemical plotting and characterization used by J.K. Rowling in the Harry Potter series. How does it feel being compared — favorably — to such a literary giant, especially by her fans?
Veronica: That’s nuts! It’s kind of … terrifying, but an incredible compliment. I mean, if you’re going to be compared to someone … she’s a pretty great person to be compared to! I don’t feel like, “Oh, I’m J.K. Rowling,” obviously! No way. I mean, Harry Potter is the best thing.
Serena: Did the philosophy of alchemy have any cognizant bearing on the creation of this series, its characters, plotting, or sociopolitical factions?
Veronica: No, not really. I’m really glad someone thought of that, but it’s not something I thought about. I’ve read a lot of analyses about the Harry Potter books and I even saw the one that mentioned Divergent. When I saw it I was just really pleased that I had accidentally done something right!
Serena: Are you an outliner or do you create your stories more organically as you go?
Veronica: I’m definitely what we call a “pantser,” which means, “write by the seat of your pants” — so I don’t outline. I had to outline the second book in order to sell the first one because they like to be sure you have a plan and that you’re not really risky (for the publisher). That was hard, but I just sort of built on what had happened in the first book and let everything come. I had to do a lot of editing, because that’s what happens when you don’t outline (laughs), but it was a really great experience.
Serena: Although you write for a mainstream YA audience, you’ve never hidden that you are a Christian. In Insurgent there are brief moments when Tris’ doubts, questions and thoughts about God seem to resonate as someone seeking a way to combine the different factions’ faith practices into something that is true to her own experience. Are you ever surprised when hints of your faith show up, unannounced, on the page?
Veronica: I’m not really that surprised because I wanted to be true to the teenage experience, which often involves a lot of consideration about existence and about God and even whether you believe in a God or not. I didn’t feel that Tris would be a real person unless she considered those things. I tried very hard not to have her proselytize the reader or anything like that because what I really think is that Tris is always questioning everything. She never comes to a decision about spiritual issues. My opinions don’t really bleed onto the page, but the things that I think about she also thinks about. I just try to make it as honest and real as possible.
Serena: In the dystopian world you’ve created, could it ever be possible for a divergent character to have equal aptitude in Dauntless (the faction known for bravery and lack of hesitancy to resort to violence) and Amity (the faction known for kindness and love of peace)?
Veronica: Oh, I don’t know … that’s a good question! Anything is possible, but it certainly wouldn’t be discovered by the aptitude test because it necessarily separates those two factions right from the get-go. I think someone can be brave while being kind and peaceful at the same time, but maybe not in the flawed system that Tris’ world has concocted.
Serena: There’s a lot pressure coming at you from around the blogosphere not to “pull a Mockingjay” with the final book of your trilogy. How do you respond when readers give you specific demands concerning what “not” to do?
Veronica: I try to remember that their demands come from enthusiasm, so they’re not really trying to be controlling or to put pressure on, they’re just trying to say, “Please don’t kill this character that I love!” or something like that. And sometimes they worry about things I’ve never even considered! Their demands and concerns really don’t play into what I’m going to do because even I don’t really control it. I just let the story go where it wants to go. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the end or who’s going to live, so it’s kind of like me saying, “I don’t know, guys! Just wait.” (Laughs) That’s what I’m doing!
Serena: How do you respond to comparisons to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series?
Veronica: I feel like it’s very flattering. Again, it’s sort of like the JK. Rowling thing. She’s a really talented writer and her books are really incredible and I’ve been a really big fan of hers for a while. So the comparison is flattering. But, again, it’s a little scary. I don’t want to try to live up to someone who’s created something so incredible. I’m just trying to focus on what I’m doing and what I do best. It’s sometimes hard to focus in and only think about my books rather than how they measure up to someone else’s. But mostly it’s an incredible compliment.
Serena: Are you a writer who likes to read your reviews or do you try to stay away from them?
Veronica: I try to stay away from them. I’ll read a couple to sort of know what I need to work on. And there are people that I trust to give me good feedback in that respect, but other than that I avoid them because it can become overwhelming and they apply a lot of pressure even if they don’t mean to.
Serena: Is there anything else you’d like to share specifically with romance readers who might not have thought to pick up your books before seeing them here — but who might, now that they’ve learned a bit about the romance angle of your story?
Veronica: It’s an action-based book, but I think those action-y moments make the romance even more powerful and distinct in a lot of ways. If you can put up with a lot of running around and shooting people then … you might enjoy the book!
“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.
Last week I had the great fortune of traveling to California, where the weather was far nicer than in Chicago, which had turned into an oven in my absence. While I was there I did many things, some of which were meeting the people currently involved in the process of turning Divergent into a movie.
First, I’m going to let you know how this process works, because I had no idea until I got involved in it, and I think there are many misconceptions– understandable ones, but misconceptions nonetheless. So, here we go:
1. I don’t choose the cast.
2. I don’t choose the director.
3. I don’t write the screenplay.
4. Actually, I don’t control anything except who I sell the rights to, and that’s already done.
I am in the fortunate position of being fairly well informed about what’s going on with the movie. This is due partly to Pouya, “my film rep guy,” as I call him, because he is involved on the production side. But unless you are an author who fights hard to get involved in the movie-making, your control over the process will be fairly limited.
And that’s kind of how I wanted it. Why? Because I write books. I love writing books and I tend to get annoyed by things that interrupt me from writing books, like the need to sleep and shower and buy groceries. Don’t get me wrong, I think movies are great. But unless some huge revelation happens wherein I consider a more varied career path, it’s all books, all the time.
So while I do love to hear your casting thoughts, know that I participate in them in much the same way you do: musing and speculation.
And while I certainly understand the “please make sure the movie is like this or that” comments (because it’s okay to get attached, and to want things to remain intact), know that I can’t make sure the movie is like this or that. All I can do is, like you, place my trust in the people who are making it.
BUT if you read on, that might sound less scary to you. It certainly feels less scary to me.
Two days before my ComicCon adventure, I was fortunate enough to have breakfast with Doug Wick, who owns Red Wagon and has done many amazing, impressive things in the realm of film production, all of which made me a teensy bit afraid to meet him. However, Doug is the sort of person who makes you feel very much at ease. My fear was gone within three minutes of having breakfast, and then we just chatted for an hour or so, sometimes about the book and sometimes not. When we did talk about the book, Doug was very enthusiastic and specific about what he liked, which I always, always appreciate. Basically, I learned that Doug is like the Allstate Insurance of production company guys.
Basically, it was a fantastic experience.
Which leads me to part 2 of this little blog adventure: ComicCon.
ComicCon = Insanity.
My day began with a press conference and transitioned into several interviews, some of which were with some of the Divergent fansites! I haven’t had much time to do interviews lately, so having them built into the time I had set aside for ComicCon was great. And I got to chat with some of the people who have been supporting Divergent! Sweet.
Then we got to wander the ComicCon floor. I saw so many things. I saw a man dressed in a very sophisticated Ghost Busters costume. I saw Harry Potter walking around with Bellatrix Lestrange (someone yelled, “Harry, watch out! Bellatrix is right behind you!” Oh, the nerdery. I love it). I found Waldo. I found him again. I saw too much of one girl’s butt cheeks. I saw a bunch of Trekkies. And this was all in the half-hour that I was able to stand the huge, intense crowds inside that building. Then I had to leave, because I was feeling a little faint. I am just not built for being around that many people at once.
There was a signing (I met some of you there, I’m sure! Always great to sign books, especially at such a huge Nerdfest), and then, I met more people.
Such as: Gillian and Jeyun of Summit Entertainment. Gillian is the one actually handling all the Divergentness, so it was fun to talk to her about it, and hear her thoughts. And then, what I was most nervous about: meeting Evan Daugherty. Screenwriter.
Also, for those of you who are still concerned, I am in touch with everyone I met, in case they have questions about Divergent. (Actually, I think I’m supposed to be drawing a map of Dauntless headquarters to make it easier to visualize.) So even though I say I’m not in control, I will be involved when people ask me to be involved, and in the way I like to be involved– when it’s very much about the book.
I was also fortunate enough to meet Erik Feig, president of acquisitions and production at Summit, who was enthusiastic and friendly and not at all a “Hollywood Dude” (I have this Hollywood Dude caricature in my head– he’s very slick and tan and not all that genuine. Total opposite of Erik Feig. Except Erik might have been tan– it was too dark for me to tell conclusively. But, whatever. People are allowed to be tan).
I met a lot of other people, too, and I will probably kick myself for not telling you about all of them as time goes on. But let me just say that my day at ComicCon confirmed a few things for me:
I have tried hard from the beginning to find good people. I believe that good people, who work hard because they love something and not out of selfish ambition, are the best people to surround yourself with. That way, even if everything goes wrong, you feel satisfied, because you know that everyone failed doing what they love, and working as hard as they could. Luckily I found Joanna, my agent, and she connected me with other good people, including Pouya and Molly, my editor. And Pouya went out and found me some really solid individuals on the film side, as I have now confirmed myself. So often I find that people are not authentic. I am fortunate enough to have good radar for that. And even though I try not to discard people who are not authentic– because everyone has a lot to learn, and is in a different stage of that learning– I also know where to put my trust.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox, but my adventures at ComicCon made me feel good about where I had put my trust. Making movies is complicated, and I am a defensive pessimist by nature, so I’m not letting myself get too excited. But I believe things have gotten off to a good start.