BREAKING: The male lead in Summit‘s Neil Burger-directed adaptation of Divergent has gone to Theo James, currently the star of the CBS series Golden Boy and whose credits include Downton Abbey and Underworld: The Awakening. He will star opposite The Spectacular Now‘s Shailene Woodley. The film’s set in a futuristic world where people are herded into factions based on their personalities. Woodley plays Tris Prior, who is deemed a “divergent” who doesn’t fit into any group and who learns she and other divergents are going to be destroyed. She needs to find out what makes these divergents so dangerous. James’ character Four is her intense instructor and one of the leaders of the Dauntless faction. For James, it’s a potential star-making role.
Summit is also closing deals with Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson and Miles Teller. They will join Jai Courtney, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort and Maggie Q in the cast. Erik Feig and Gillian Bohrer are overseeing for Lionsgate. The film is based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling novel, and Vanessa Taylor and Evan Daugherty wrote the script. Production begins April in Chicago.
Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing the project via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner 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.
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 Feig. “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.”
James is represented by WME, and Markham, Froggatt & Irwin.