Theo James Lands Male Lead in DIVERGENT; Aaron Eckhart, Miles Teller, and Ray Stevenson Circling Roles

     March 15, 2013

It’s a casting bonanza for director Neil Burger’s (The Illusionist) anticipated adaptation of the popular YA novel Divergent.  The past couple of days have seen the likes of Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard), Maggie Q (Nikita), Zoe Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), and Ansel Elgort (Carrie remake) join the film’s cast, and now another slew of actors are signing on.  The story takes place in a futuristic society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) has long been set in the lead role of Tris Prior, a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces termination due to her status as a “Divergent.”

Though the film’s plot has drawn similarities to The Hunger Games, the book received a fair amount of praise from critics, and it’s telling that the film has attracted such talent as Woodley and Kate Winslet.  Now some other impressive actors are signing on, including Theo James who has nabbed the highly coveted male lead.  Hit the jump for more.

theo-james-divergentSummit Entertainment announced today that actor Theo James has been set as the male lead in the film, a character named Four who serves as one of the leaders of the Dauntless faction and Prior’s intense instructor.  We previously heard that actors like Alex PettyferLucas Till, and Jeremy Irvine were in the running for the part, but it appears that James has won out in the end.  The role is a major get for James, who has previously appeared on Downton Abbey and in Underworld: Awakening and currently stars on the new CBS drama series Golden Boy.  Divergent is a potential star-making turn for the actor.

Additionally, Variety reports that Summit is in the process of closing deals with the previously reported Kate Winslet as well as Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson (Thor), and Miles Teller (21 and Over) for supporting roles.  This is particularly exciting since Woodley and Teller both give career-best performances in the Sundance hit The Spectacular Now (opening later this year), and so I look forward to seeing their excellent chemistry continue in Divergent.

Vanessa Taylor (Game of Thrones, Hope Springs) rewrote the script for the film, which was originally penned by Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman).  Production on Divergent begins in Chicago next month, and Summit will release the film on March 21, 2014, the same weekend that proved so fruitful for The Hunger Games.

divergent-book-cover-imageRead the full press release below:


Fans Eagerly Await the March 21, 2014 North American Release of the

Filmed Adaptation of Veronica Roth’s New York Times Best Selling Novel

Santa Monica, CA  March 15, 2013 – Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE® (NYSE: LGF) company, announced today that Theo James (Downton Abbey, UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING) will star as “Four” opposite Golden Globe nominated Shailene Woodley (THE DESCENDANTS, THE SPECTACULAR NOW) in the highly anticipated feature film production DIVERGENT.  The futuristic action adventure, based on author Veronica Roth’s New York Times best seller, will be directed by Neil Burger (LIMITLESS, THE ILLUSIONIST) from a script by Vanessa Taylor and commences principal photography this April in Chicago.  The original draft of the script was written by Evan Daugherty.  Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing the project via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner (THE GREAT GATSBY) along with Pouya Shahbazian. Red Wagon’s Rachel Shane is executive producing.  Summit will release the film theatrically in North America in THE HUNGER GAMES slot on Friday, March 21, 2014.

DIVERGENT is a thrilling adventure set in a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities, Tris Prior (Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

A man with a mysterious past, Four is Tris’s intense yet charismatic instructor and one of the leaders of the Dauntless faction.

In a joint statement, Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, Co-Chairmen of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said, “Theo is not only an incredibly talented actor, he is also who we envisioned as Four when reading Veronica’s novel which has taken the world by storm.  As we continue to develop the film, the studio remains committed to providing fans with a movie adaptation that stays as true to the book as possible and we are confident that we have done so with our selection of Shailene and Theo in the leading roles.”

“We took our time to find the right actor to fill the role of Four, and Theo is definitely the perfect fit,” said Erik Feig, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group’s President of Production.  “Veronica has crafted a truly iconic character in Four and we cannot wait to begin production and bring him and this story to life for millions of fans around the world.”

The extremely popular young adult novel Divergent was written by first time author Veronica Roth and has topped the New York Times Best Sellers list ever since being published in May of 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers. The book was written by Roth while she was earning her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University.  She followed her first novel with the bookInsurgent, which has also made its way to the #1 position on specific New York Times Best Sellers lists.  To date, book sales are now over 2.6 million copies for both novels combined, and both titles are HarperCollins most successful e-books ever in regards to sales.  The studio acquired the film rights to the novel in early 2011 several months before the book Divergent was published.

DIVERGENT marks another strategic foray for Summit into producing material for young adults, building on Summit and corporate parent Lionsgate’s leadership in the young-adult genre.  Summit’s TWILIGHT SAGA franchise has grossed more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office, and the first film of Lionsgate’s THE HUNGER GAMES franchise is the 13th highest-grossing North American release of all time.

Latest News