Neil Burger Wants To Be Divergent

A possible new teen franchise

Clearly intent on cornering the market on young adult franchises taken from books, Twilight team Summit Entertainment (which merged with Hunger Games company Lionsgate) is pushing ahead to make the first in a planned set of films based on Veronica Ruth’s Divergent series. Now Limitless director Neil Berger is in early talks to handle the shot-calling chores.

Summit grabbed up the rights to all three of Roth’s planned books before the first one was even published. Divergent arrived in May 2011. Insurgent, the sequel, was published in May of this year. Fans will have to wait for the still-untitled third tome, scheduled to hit in autumn 2013.

The Hunger Games comparisons are inevitable, as Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where the world is split into factions, and since it features a teenage hero. We’re introduced to Beatrice “Tris” Prior, born 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 is sworn to secrecy. 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. There’s even more to it than that, including hidden love affairs, a healthy dose of action and dangerous enemies.

Evan Daugherty was hired to adapt the book last year and if Burger makes a deal, he’ll be shooting in March with a release date pencilled in for early 2014. Expect the usual torrent of casting announcements between now and the cameras cranking…