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'Divergent' director Neil Burger explains why he won't return for sequel -- LISTEN

Divergent director Neil Burger sat down with Nicole Sperling on EW Radio to discuss why he’s not coming back for the second installment of the trilogy, based on the best-selling young adult series by Veronica Roth. While Burger said he was originally supposed to come back and direct Insurgent, the decision to turn down the offer came down to “practical issues” that involved going back to shoot some additional scenes for the film that would further explain the world that Tris is living in.

“Once I was doing that, I was like, ‘I can’t be prepping one shoot on this film and then prepping a whole other movie at the same time,’ and it was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back in the sense of being able to do [Insurgent],” said the director. “It’s too bad because I love those actors and I do feel a certain ownership of the movie.”

Listen to a short clip from EW’s interview with Divergent director Neil Burger below: READ FULL STORY

Critical mass: Not much divergence in reviews of 'Divergent'

The template seems simple enough: adapt a best-selling dystopian YA book with a dynamic female heroine, sit back, and start counting the moolah. Lionsgate is wisely trying to replicate the billion-dollar success of Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games with Divergent, another potential franchise based on Veronica Roth’s trilogy and starring Shailene Woodley.

Of course, Woodley’s Tris isn’t the first girl-power character to follow Katniss’ footsteps — but she is the most promising after disappointments like Mortal Instruments and The Host. In Roth’s novels, Tris is the rare renaissance gal from a rigidly divided skill-based society that sorts citizens into five camps based on personality traits, like bravery (Dauntless), intelligence (Erudite), or selflessness (Abnegnation). Tris, who was raised Abnegnation, qualifies for three camps, making her a “divergent” threat to the status quo, represented by Kate Winslet’s icy Erudite leader. “The future belongs to those who know where they belong,” she tells the nervous teens at their Choosing Ceremony.

Fortunately, Tris has some help from Dauntless, which is the daredevil group she surprisingly elects to join. Theo James plays her smoldering and mysterious teacher, Four, whom EW’s Owen Gleiberman compares to an “unflaky James Franco with a surly hint of T-shirt-era Brando; he brings off the neat trick of playing a hardass who is also a heartthrob.”

Divergent has been a great hope, especially since it nabbed the critically acclaimed Woodley (The Descendants) for the lead role and has Winslet’s glower-power to keep things interesting. The most passionate fans rushed out to see Thursday-night screenings — grossing an impressive $4.9 million overnight — and a sequel, Insurgent, is already on the way. But is Divergent any good? Click below to see what Gleiberman and other critics are saying about the movie before you head to the theater.
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New 'Divergent' photo! Here is the first picture of (drumroll) Theo James as Four -- EXCLUSIVE

Attention all you Four fans: here’s an exclusive reveal of Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton, the mysterious–and rather dreamy–Dauntless leader that takes a special interest in Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley).

For those of you who haven’t read the Veronica Roth books, Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where all of society is divided into five factions: Amity (peaceful), Abnegation (selfless); Candor (honest, Erudite (intelligent); a nd Dauntless (brave). Our heroine, sixteen-year-old Tris, chooses the Dauntless faction. READ FULL STORY

New 'Divergent' photo! Watch Tris go Dauntless -- EXCLUSIVE

Afraid of heights? Let’s just say you probably wouldn’t make it in Dauntless.

The highly anticipated adaptation of Veronica Roth’s best-selling Divergent is still filming in Chicago, but EW has gotten this exclusive first look of Tris (Shailene Woodley) out on a ledge and perched to jump as part of initiation into her faction. For those of who haven’t read the books, in the dystopian world of Divergent, all of society is divided into five factions: Abnegation (selfless); Erudite (intelligent); Candor (honest); Amity (peaceful) and Dauntless (brave). Our heroine, sixteen-year-old Tris Prior, has chosen the Dauntless faction which involves a lot of very scary initiation tests—like the time she stood still while knives were thrown at her head. READ FULL STORY

First Look: Shailene Woodley faces knives in 'Divergent' -- EXCLUSIVE PHOTO

Divergent, the highly anticipated adaptation of the first book in Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA series, only recently began filming on location in Chicago. But Shailene Woodley, who stars as heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior, tells EW that the younger members of the Neil Burger-directed movie — which includes Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Theo James and Zoë Kravitz — have already clicked. “It’s a good group,” she says. “We’re hanging out on weekends, celebrating birthdays. Everyone just wants to get to know one another. It’s rare to get a big group together and not have any conflicts. It’s really kind of amazing.”

Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where society is divided up into five factions. In this exclusive photograph, Tris is taking the place of a fellow Dauntless initiate, and must stand still while knives are thrown at her head. “It’s about being selfless and standing up for what’s right,” Woodley says.

But don’t worry about those knives: “They’re just rubber,” she says.

Read more:
Tony Goldwyn joins ‘Divergent’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘Divergent’ has found its ‘Four’! Theo James talks about starring in the next big YA franchise — EXCLUSIVE

Tony Goldwyn joins 'Divergent' -- EXCLUSIVE

Here’s another (and probably the last) big piece of the Divergent casting puzzle: EW has learned exclusively that Tony Goldwyn has joined the Divergent team playing the role of Andrew Prior, father to heroine Beatrice Prior, portrayed by Shailene Woodley.

The Scandal actor (who plays President Fitzgerald Grant on the ABC show), 52, joins Ashley Judd—who recently was cast as onscreen wife, Natalie Prior — Kate Winslet, Jai Courtney, Theo James, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, and Ansel Elgort. (For more on the rest of the cast, check out our “Who’s Who?” gallery.)
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'Divergent': Ashley Judd cast as Natalie Prior

EW has confirmed that Ashley Judd has joined the cast of Divergent, the big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA bestseller. Judd — who recently abandoned her bid for one of Kentucky’s U.S. Senate seats — will play Natalie Prior, the mother of Divergent‘s heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley). (THR first exclusively reported this news.) READ FULL STORY

'Divergent' adds two more to the cast, starts official production

DIVERGENT-ROTH

We’ve been eagerly following all the casting announcements on Divergent — the film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s best-selling YA series — and today comes official word from Summit Entertainment that shooting has begun in Chicago along with two new members of the cast.

In addition to Shailene Woodley as Tris, Theo James as Tobias “Four” Eaton, and Kate Winslet as the devious Jeanine Matthew — the filmmakers announced that Mekhi Phifer (E.R.) has signed on to play Max, a Dauntless leader, and Dexter‘s Ray Stevenson will portray Marcus, a high-ranking member of Abnegation (who has close ties with a principal character).
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Kate Winslet confirmed for role in 'Divergent'

Summit Entertainment confirms (finally!) that Kate Winslet will indeed star as Jeanine Matthews in the Neil Burger directed YA thriller, Divergent. The cast has filled out nicely in the last couple of weeks: in addition to star Shailene Woodley (who just this week was offered the role in the film adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars), the cast members are as follows:

Theo James as Dauntless instructor, Tobias “Four” EatonJai Courtney as Eric, former Erudite transfer and sadistic leader of the Dauntless faction; Zoë Kravitz as Tris’s friend Christina; Maggie Q as Tori, a Dauntless ally; and Ansel Elgort as Tris’s brother, Caleb.

Production will start next month in Chicago.

'Divergent': Jai Courtney signs on as Eric

The Divergent cast continues to fill out as Jai Courtney — whom you may recognize from A Good Day to Die Hard has signed on to play Eric, a former Erudite transfer who is the slightly sadistic leader of the Dauntless faction. He’s described in the book as having gray eyes, several piercings, and long dark hair in dread-locks.

Neil Burger’s (Limitless) film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s 2011 YA thriller has been attracting quite a bit of talent. Shailene Woodley will be playing fierce heroine Beatrice Prior, and Kate Winslet will reportedly play the cunning antagonist Jeanine Matthews. In supporting roles, Zoe Kravitz (who we totally had on our wish list!) will play Christina; Maggie Q has signed on for Dauntless ally, Tori; and Ansel Elgort as Tris’s brother, Caleb.

All we need now is to find out who is playing Tris’s love interest, the mysterious Four… Many actors have been in to read for the role (including Alex Pettyfer, Jeremy Irvine, and Lucas Till) but Summit Entertainment has yet to announce who their man is. Guesses? Let us know…

Read more:
10 Great YA Couples
Fantasy casting: ‘Divergent’ edition

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