Thanks to the Harry Potters and Twilights of the world, the new craze in filmmaking is to adapt YA novels for beaucoup bucks. There are a ridiculous number of teen lit books that have been put into some stage of development for the big screen. Now, Divergent, based on the 2011 novel by Veronica Roth, has moved up in the ranks, as it’s courting Shailene Woodley to play its lead. The young actress was best known as the principal on The Secret Life of the American Teenager until her role in The Descendants last year blew everyone away, and now she’s exploded, between both this and her negotiations to play Mary Jane in the next Spider-Man film.
Divergent is being produced by Summit, the same studio behind Twilight, who are looking for a franchise to replace the sparkly vampire moneymaker (they’ve also got Ender’s Game coming down the pipe). Neil Burger (Limitless) is set to direct, while Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) will write. The story, frankly, sounds profoundly uninteresting. It apparently concerns “a 16-year-old girl living in a dystopian Chicago divided into five factions separated by personality traits: Erudite (the smart), Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), and Amity (the peaceful).” Never mind that intelligence isn’t a personality trait, this sounds an awful lot like the house system of Harry Potter given its own story. Remember how boring all that was? Divergent is the first in a planned trilogy (of course) of novels. I look forward to the last installment being unnecessarily split into two films.
Okay, yes, I only chose this story because I wanted to rag on trends in YA lit and movies. Sue me, it’s a slow day.