SAN DIEGO — The romance between pretty people Shailene Woodley and Theo James is something plenty of fans are looking forward to watching in “Divergent” the latest dystopian young adult novel to be adapted for the big screen.
“I kind of intentionally kept myself away from set on days when they were doing anything smoochy because I feel like that’s just awkward, like that’s just voyeuristic somehow,” Roth told a packed Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con. That’s probably the opposite of how most of us would do things, but hey, the lady created those characters, so it’s her prerogative.
“Divergent” is set in a dystopian future Chicago, a walled-in, ruined city where the population is divided into five factions that devote themselves to personality traits like bravery, selflessness and intelligence. Woodley’s Tris is a selfless teen who transfers to the daredevil faction, and James plays her mentor. It shouldn’t be a spoiler to say that a romance eventually blossoms.
Roth was joined at the panel by Woodley, James, director Neil Burger, and a ton of their supporting cast members to present the first footage of the film, which is scheduled to come out March 21, 2014. Here are five takeaways from the panel, which brought the cast together in one of their very first public appearances:
James might be the most handsome human specimen to hit the Hall H stage in quite some time (or at least, like, a couple of hours), but the audience enthusiasm for his entrance was definitely not quite at a Pattinson level. He and Woodley received about the same not-quite-deafening amount of screams as they took their seats. In fact, Maggie Q got the loudest round of applause of everyone.
“We just finished shooting two days ago, on Tuesday morning, so it’s all very, very fresh for us right now,” director Burger told the crowd. Since the cast has been in a production bubble for the past several months, they haven’t really heard much feedback from fans regarding news from set. The panel was the first time the stars have been able to gauge the fans’ excitement over the project. “We really worked our asses off to make something that I think you’ll all really be proud of,” James said. “It’s a really special movie and it has a really iconic look to it.”
While Roth wouldn’t spill a word about the plot of the upcoming third book in the trilogy, which hits stores October 22, she did reveal an intriguing detail about the story: it will be told from both Tris’ point of view and Four’s point of view.
The Dauntless initiates bonded offscreen much like their characters do onscreen: in the gym. The actors went through several weeks of martial arts training together before filming began and they had to do the same thing again while cameras rolled.
Because Dauntless is the faction that values bravery, Woodley and James have both spent some time pondering what bravery means to them. “I think all of us are extremely brave and extremely courageous, but I don’t think that we’re necessarily put in situations where we’re forced to call upon our bravery,” Woodley said. “What I love about Tris is that she was in that situation and she rose to the occasion.” James added of Four, “I think he’s a man with a very centered sense of masculinity and he’s not afraid to demonstrate what he’s afraid of. It’s not about being fearless, it’s about how you deal with things that are scary.”