No question that one of the high points of Comic-Con 2013 was
the Lionsgate/Summit “Divergent” panel, which debuted the first-ever footage
from the film. Directed by Neil Burger (“Limitless”), it’s aimed at
the “Twilight” crowd. Casting, which includes Shailene Woodley, Theo
James (“Downton Abbey”), Kate Winslet and Maggie Q, is strong.
Not all YA franchises have hit gold like “Twilight” and “The
Hunger Games” (think cookie cutter “Beautiful Creatures,” or this past weekend’s latest Sony box office
underperformer “The Mortal Instruments”). “Divergent,” however, could
be a winner. One, this more recent book was on bestseller lists for 26 months,
followed by a sequel, “Insurgent,” that was published last year; a
third installment is in the works. Summit knows how to sell to this demo and
the elements are attractive indeed.
The film, which wrapped this summer, is set in a much
smaller post-cataclysm walled Chicago 100 years in the future and stars Woodley
as Triss, who has grown up in one of five factions of society based on a
quality: Abnegation (selfless), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent),
Dauntless (the brave), and Amity (the peaceful).
For those of you unfamiliar with the books written by
Veronica Roth while she was still in college, as a rite of passage to adulthood
in this society you have a choice to make: stay in the faction you were raised
in and continue to see your family and friends, or choose a new one, for which you
will have to pass an aptitude test to prove that you qualify. Once you’re in
you are committed for life; there’s no going back. Our heroine decides
to leave Abnegation to become part of Dauntless.
This new trailer contains snippets of three strong scenes that were shown at greater length at Comic-Con: Triss climbs up to an elevated train trestle, jumps onto a moving train with her group of would-be Dauntless members, and jumps off onto a rooftop. She also is the first to leap into the unknown, where she is received by the hearththrob who becomes her mentor/lover (Theo James). The trailer adds Kate Winslet (as the all-too familiar humorless female authority figure, see Jodie Foster in “Elysium”) who reminds our heroine that in this society, being divergent (carrying more than one quality at a time) is not good–and more scope from the movie.