It’s become de rigueur for film adaptations of teen adventure/ romance/dystopian novels to cast at least one respected British actor, possibly as a good luck charm. The Hunger Games has Toby Jones, the upcoming Beautiful Creatures features Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons, and Divergent appears to be following the trend, with Kate Winslet now in talks for an unspecified role.
Summit has been busy on the project, hiring Evan Daugherty to adapt the first of Veronica Roth’s trilogy (with Vanessa Taylor now re-writing him) and director Neil Burger to oversee the film.
Shailene Woodley is on board to star as Beatrice “Tris” Prior, born into a dystopian future where the world is split into factions. Tris grows up in Chicago as part of the Abnegation faction, who are all raised to be selfless. When the teens of this future world reach 16, they decide which of the five factions (Candor – honesty; Erudite – intelligence; Amity – peace; Dauntless – daring and Abnegation – selfless) they will end up joining by means of a test. Tris discovers that she’s divergent, suited to joining more than one faction, but has to keep that fact secret. Since all the factions are, to some extent at least, rivals, those who don't quite fit into any one box are seen as dangerously destabilising elements.
You also have your requisite hidden love affairs, plenty of action and some villains. We're guessing that Winslet could be in line to play Tris' mother Natalie, who has a relatively small role in the first book, or the rather less loveable Erudite leader Jeanine.
What Berger and Summit don’t have right now is someone to play opposite Woodley. Lucas Till, Alex Pettyfer and Jeremy Irvine have all been up for the role of Four, her Dauntless trainer and love interest, but no one has been deemed suitable. They’ll need to get cracking on it, though; the film is scheduled for March 21 next year. Winslet, meanwhile, will next show up in Movie 43, which arrives in cinemas over here today.