Though Summit/Lionsgate already has the young adult market cornered with the Twilight and Hunger Games franchises, Summit (which is now owned by Lionsgate) is looking to turn yet another popular YA book series into a feature film franchise. Variety reports that The Illusionist and Limitless helmer Neil Burger has entered early talks to direct an adaptation of Divergent.
Written by Veronica Roth at the ripe old age of 22, the book has drawn comparisons to the Hunger Games series for its similar futuristic setting in which teen-on-teen violence takes place. Though blatant ripoffs are easy to spot, I’ve actually heard good things about Divergent and the novel—which is the first in a trilogy—is quite popular. Hit the jump for more.
The story revolves around a 16-year-old girl living in a world where society is divided into five factions that represent a particular virtue. There’s Honesty, Selflessness, Bravery, Peacefulness, and Intelligence. On a certain day, all 16-year-olds must choose which virtue they want to devote the rest of their life to, after which they undergo a rigorous initiation process for said virtue.
Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman) was hired to pen the adaptation last summer, but its unknown if Burger has a different take that necessitates a rewrite. Variety reports that Summit also has the rights to the sequel, Insurgent. I like The Illusionist quite a bit and Limitless is good, clean fun, so Burger should hopefully make a fine fit to helm an adventuresome adaptation that isn’t lacking in character and story.
Burger is also attached to direct an adaptation of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune as well as an adaptation of the Dennis Lehane short story Animal Rescue, but Variety notes that should a deal make, Divergent would likely be his next project. Since The Hunger Games played like gangbusters, don’t expect Divergent to be the last “Hunger Games-esque” film to enter into development in the near future.
Here’s the synopsis for Divergent:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the YA scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance. [Amazon]