Neil Burger Talks DIVERGENT, HUNGER GAMES Comparisons, Why He Didn’t Direct INSURGENT, Possibly Returning for ALLEGIANT, and More

by     Posted 26 days ago

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Earlier this year, Summit Entertainment launched a new franchise with Divergent.  The adaptation of the first novel in author Veronica Roth’s trilogy bore some resemblance to another post-apocalyptic franchise, but director Neil Burger ensured that his futuristic sci-fi thriller would stand alone.  He began by assembling an excellent cast led by Shailene Woodley, opted for a colorful visual approach heavy in luminosity, and took care in pleasing passionate fans of Roth’s source material.  The result was a fun, thrilling, and somewhat surprising film that took in over $270 million at the worldwide box office and paved the way for the sequel, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, which is poised for release on March 20, 2015.

With Divergent being released on Blu-ray and DVD this week, I recently got the chance to speak with Burger over the phone.  During the course of our interview, he discussed his reaction to the film’s success, the double-edge nature of the pre-release Hunger Games comparisons, the pain of removing the eye-stabbing subplot in the editing process, how much he knew about Allegiant ahead of time, and more.  Additionally, Burger revealed that he was actually going to direct Insurgent but reshoots made the timetable impossible, and talked about the possibility of returning to the franchise to helm one of the Allegiant films.  Read the interview after the jump.

DIVERGENT Deleted Scene Reveals Edward’s Eye Stabbing

by     Posted 32 days ago

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If you’ve read Divergent, you probably noticed that one particularly unforgettable scene never made it into the movie – the eye stabbing.  In the book, during Dauntless initiation, the #1 ranking transfer initiate, Edward (Ben Lamb), is stabbed in the eye in the middle of the night.  It’s a pretty brutal moment in the book, so it is reasonable that they opted to cut it from a PG-13-rated film, but they actually did shoot it and it’ll be on the Divergent DVD and Blu-ray special features menu.

You can’t get a copy until August 5th, but Summit opted to unveil the long lost stabbing scene a little early.  Hit the jump to check out the Divergent deleted scene and also to find out what Lamb himself had to say about shooting it during our set visitDivergent also stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort and Kate Winslet.

Neil Burger Talks DIVERGENT, Changes from the Book, Casting, Deleted Scenes, His Favorite Films, Shooting Digitally, Comic-Con, and Much More

by     Posted 160 days ago

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With Divergent now playing in theaters, I recently landed an exclusive interview with director Neil Burger.  For those unfamiliar, the film is based on the Veronica Roth novel of the same name and takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”  Hit the jump to watch the interview.  Divergent also stars Theo James, Ansel ElgortRay StevensonZoe Kravitz, Tony GoldwynAshley Judd, Ben Lloyd-HughesMaggie QMekhi Phifer, Christian Madsen, and Kate Winslet.

During the interview, Burger talked about how Divergent is the biggest movie he’s ever done, if he read any fan sites before shooting, changes from the book, the casting process, the runtime, deleted scenes, what will be on the Blu-ray, why he’s not doing the sequel, if he’d be willing to come back for the 3rd installment (Allegiant), Comic-Con, his favorite films, why he shot on the Alexa, other screenplays he’s written, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of Burger I’m very confident you’ll enjoy this interview.  Hit the jump for our Neil Burger interview.

DIVERGENT Review

by     Posted 164 days ago

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The story of Divergent celebrates bravery, compassion, and above all, accepting an emotional complexity that goes beyond a single characteristic.  Unfortunately, Neil Burger‘s adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s best-selling novel is constantly softening that emotional complexity or dodging it altogether.  The director is more focused on recreating the world of the novel, but rarely does he concern himself with fleshing it out and making the character relationships more than superficial.  The result is a staggeringly safe picture in what’s supposed to be a dangerous setting.

Over 25 New Images from DIVERGENT Featuring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, and More

by     Posted 170 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has released a number of new images from director Neil Burger’s (Limitless) upcoming Veronica Roth adaptation Divergent.  The film is on track for a big opening weekend, and from what little footage we’ve seen, I’ve really liked Burger’s visual take on the dystopian world.  Moreover, the prospect of seeing The Spectacular Now stars Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller together again onscreen (albeit under very different circumstances) is highly enticing.  For those unaware, the futuristic thriller takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities.  Woodley plays a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups, and faces grave consequences if it’s revealed that she’s “Divergent”.

Hit the jump to check out the new images, which fans of the book will be happy to know include looks at nearly the entire cast and even Roth’s cameo.  The film also stars Theo James, Jai Courtney, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Christian Madsen, Ray Stevenson, Amy Newbold, and Ben LambDivergent opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on March 21st.

New Images from DIVERGENT Featuring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller; Film Tracking Strong as Advance Tickets Go on Sale March 8th

by     Posted 185 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has debuted a batch of new images from director Neil Burger’s (Limitless) upcoming futuristic thriller Divergent, giving us a first look at a number of characters from the book—including Miles Teller’s Peter.  For those unfamiliar, the film is based on the Veronica Roth novel of the same name and takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”  Summit no doubt hopes to mimic the success of another YA franchise (The Hunger Games), and it looks like they just may succeed as The Wrap reports that Divergent is tracking strong for a $50+ million opening and building.  As someone who read and enjoyed the book and is a fan of Burger’s visuals, that’s good to hear.  In addition, the studio has announced that advance tickets for the film will be on sale starting March 4th, at which time purchasers will receive a free digital copy of the book.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new images.  The film also stars Theo James, Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Jai CourtneyTony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Ben Lloyd-HughesChristian Madsen, and Kate WinsletDivergent opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on March 21st.

DIVERGENT Set Visit Report Part Two: the Stunts and Costumes of the Futuristic Thriller

by     Posted 196 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has big plans for the Divergent franchise.  Based on the book series by author Veronica Roth, the story takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.” Neil Burger (Limitless) directs the futuristic thriller Divergent, which opens March 21st, but Summit is already hard at work on the sequel Insurgent, recently bringing on Robert Schwentke (Red) to take the helm.

Last Spring, Collider was invited along with a handful of other journalists to the Chicago set of Divergent.  I shared the first portion of my set visit report last fall, but with the film opening in theaters next month, it’s now time to share the rest of what I gleaned from the visit.  During my time on set, I was lucky to get a look at how Burger and the stunt coordinators were filming the train jumps from the book and discuss their approach to the fight sequences, and I also spoke to the costume designer about crafting the look of the characters.  Read the full report after the jump.

DIVERGENT Director Neil Burger Won’t Return to Helm Sequel INSURGENT [Updated with Statement from Summit]

by     Posted 258 days ago

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Divergent opens March 21, 2014—Summit has already scheduled the sequel Insurgent for March 2015, followed by the third movie Allegiant in March 2016 (announced tonight).  The studio clearly hopes for big things over the next three years from the adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s dystopian sci-fi series, set in a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities..  Director Neil Burger (Limitless) is in post-production on Divergent, but Variety reports he will not return to direct Insurgent.  The report does not specify why Burger will not return, but the tight schedule may be a culprit.  Insurgent will begin production in the spring to make the March 20, 2015 release date.

For more on Divergent, check out our set visit coverage.  Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Tony Goldwyn, Ashley Judd, and Kate Winslet star.  Hit the jump to see what Summit had to say.

Full Trailer and New Poster for DIVERGENT Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet

by     Posted 291 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has released a new full trailer and poster for director Neil Burger‘s futuristic thriller Divergent.  Based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, the film takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities. Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”  The trailer does a nice job of setting up the world of the film as well as teasing both the adventurous and romantic aspects of the story.  Unlike Twilight, however, there is no love triangle in Divergent,  and Tris is very much a strong and independent female character.  Having read and enjoyed the book, this trailer works pretty well for me, but I’m interested to see how those unfamiliar with the source material respond.  It’s tough to tease the most exciting aspects of the story without spoiling major plot points, but things get extremely intense.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and if you missed any of our set visit coverage be sure to check out 30 Things to Know and interviews with Burger, Woodly & Theo James, Zoe Kravitz, and producer Douglas Wick.  The film also stars Kate WinsletMiles TellerJai CourtneyAshley JuddTony GoldwynRay StevensonMaggie QMekhi PhiferAnsel ElgortChristian MadsenBen Lloyd-HughesBen Lamb, and Amy Newbold.  Divergent opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on March 21, 2014.

TOP 5: First Trailer for CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, DIVERGENT Set Visit, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, ANCHORMAN 2, Superheroes Who Never Were

by     Posted 309 days ago

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Last weekend I checked out director Kimberly Peirce‘s Carrie remake and found it to be a perfectly solid retelling of Brian De Palma‘s 1976 classic. With a solid lead performance from Chloë Grace Moretz and a downright terrifying turn by Julianne Moore, I found more than a few things to like about the pic. I also thought the opening scene was terrific and was surprised to hear Judy Greer tell Steve that it wasn’t in the original script. Although I knew how the story would play out, I found myself wanting so badly for Carrie’s prom night to go smoothly which I think is a credit to Peirce’s direction and the time she takes setting up the obstacle-laden road Carrie traverses on the way to her first date. Ultimately, is there anything extraordinarily fresh and/or updated about the remake? Not really. Nevertheless, it’s a solid movie that proves Stephen King‘s tale is just as relevant and effective today as it was nearly four decades ago.

With my paragraph review of Carrie in the bag, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Adam’s Divergent set visit, Steve’s Thor: The Dark World video interviews with Chris Hemsworth and more, two new trailers for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and Evan’s look at superhero movie casting decisions that nearly came to fruition. Much like in the past, a brief recap and link to each of the above is waiting after the jump.

Director Neil Burger Talks Making the Future Feel Cinematic Instead of Gritty, the Portrayal of Violence, Filming in Chicago, and More on the Set of DIVERGENT

by     Posted 311 days ago

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As the director behind films like The Illusionist and Limitless, filmmaker Neil Burger has a flair for impressive visuals.  For his next directorial effort, Burger is trying his hand at a potentially major feature film franchise with an adaptation of Veronica Roth’s futuristic thriller YA novel Divergent.  Bringing the world of the book to life is no easy task, but Burger is game for the challenge and has an eye towards crafting something that will stand out amongst the various other franchises that are currently populating movie theaters.

While visiting the Chicago set of Divergent earlier this year with a group of other journalists, I was able to speak with Burger about the film.  The director talked about which scenes most intimidated him, having some knowledge about how the third book ends before filming began, his approach to the book’s extreme level of violence, his unique visual take on the material (which involves ditching “gritty” for something more cinematic), and more.  Hit the jump to read the full interview.

First Trailer and Infographic for DIVERGENT Starring Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet, and Theo James

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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Summit Entertainment premiered the first trailer for director Neil Burger’s (Limitless) adaptation of the Veronica Roth novel Divergent on MTV’s VMA’s tonight, and we have it here for your viewing pleasure. The futuristic thriller takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities. Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”  This trailer is incredibly brief, and while it’s very clearly aimed at a younger audience, we do get a hint of the more violent aspects of the story and the severity of Tris’ situation.  Roth’s novel is quite a compelling page-turner, and my hope is that Burger has successfully transferred the book’s more intriguing aspects to the screen.  It’s tough to suss out much from this short trailer, but Kate Winslet definitely looks to be on point as the stern Jeanine.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out a handy infographic that clearly explains the world of Divergent. The film also stars Theo James, Miles TellerJai Courtney, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Ansel Elgort, Christian Madsen, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, and Amy Newbold. Divergent opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on March 21, 2014.

First Footage from DIVERGENT Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet

by     Posted 1 year, 9 days ago

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The first footage from director Neil Burger’s (Limitless) adaptation of the Veronica Roth novel Divergent has landed online ahead of the full trailer debut this coming Sunday, August 25th.  The futuristic thriller takes place in a society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities.  Tris (Shailene Woodley) is a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”  This brief teaser doesn’t reveal much, but fans of the book will be happy to finally see the characters in action.  I was able to visit the Chicago set of the film earlier this year, and as a fan of the book I was encouraged by the direction Burger has taken.  It’s biggest obstacle, however, will be avoiding being labeled as a Hunger Games copycat.  Hopefully the full trailer does a nice job of distinguishing this as a wholly separate–and thoroughly entertaining–dystopian adventure.

Hit the jump to watch the teaser, and check back to see the trailer after its debut on MTV’s VMA’s on Sunday, August 25th.  If you missed Steve’s interview with Burger and Roth from Comic-Con, click here.  The film also stars Kate WinsletTheo James, Miles TellerJai CourtneyAshley JuddTony GoldwynRay StevensonZoe KravitzMaggie QMekhi PhiferAnsel ElgortChristian MadsenBen Lloyd-HughesBen Lamb, and Amy Newbold.  Divergent opens on March 21, 2014.

Author Veronica Roth and Director Neil Burger Talk DIVERGENT, What They Collect, Filming in Chicago, IMAX, and More at Comic-Con

by     Posted 1 year, 35 days ago

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With Summit’s futuristic thriller Divergent opening March 21, 2014, the studio brought the cast and director Neil Burger (Limitless) to Comic-Con last weekend.  Based on the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, Divergent takes place in a futuristic society where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, which determines how they can best serve the population.  Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) stars as Tris, a young girl who doesn’t fit into any of the pre-assigned groups and faces grave consequences due to her status as a “Divergent.”

Shortly before hitting the stage, I landed an exclusive video interview with Roth and Burger.  They talked about being at Comic-Con, the way they collaborated, why they shot in Chicago, what do they collect (Roth reveals she’s a Potterhead), IMAX, what they each liked about the other person, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Comic-Con: Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Director Neil Burger Talk DIVERGENT, Working with Green Screen, and Staying True to the Book

by     Posted 1 year, 44 days ago

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While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, co-stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James, along with director Neil Burger (Limitless) spoke to press about their action-thriller Divergent.  Based on the best-selling first book in a trilogy by Veronica Roth, the film is set in a future society, divided into factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue.  On an appointed day of every year, all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives, but when that day comes for Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Woodley), her choice will surprise everyone, including herself.

During the interview, they talked about making a film on such a grand scale, working with green screen, what would comprise their own fear landscape, what drew them to their roles, how true the film is to the book, and what their best day on set was.  Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

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