[caption id="attachment_185320" align="alignleft" width="300"] "Divergent" / Summit[/caption]
Nowadays, certain movies are hyped years in advance (remember when Angelina Jolie was set to star in "Gravity" and "Harry Potter" was only going to be seven movies?), so forgive us for thinking that March 20, 2014 isn't actually that far away. No, we're not that pumped about Spring Break (foreverrrrrr) — that's when we'll finally get our "Divergent" on.
Shailene Woodley and Theo James star in the new movie, set in a future Chicago laid to waste and nearly unrecognizable from today's Windy City. Though the movie has received plenty of hype already (set visits, primers and trailers galore!), millions have already delved into the "Divergent"-verse, courtesy of the Young Adult trilogy they movie is adapted from.
Yesterday, the final installment of the trilogy of novels, "Allegiant," was released. Author Veronica Roth, a New York Times bestselling author many times over now, appeared at New York's 92nd St. Y to give a talk to a crowd of enthusiastic fans, discussing the finer points of the novel and movie, and even bringing out two cast members, Ansel Elgort and Christian Madsen, to the delight of the screaming assembled allegiants. (We'll need to work on a new name for that fan army.) Though the event was organized around the publication of the novel, there was still plenty to learn about the highly anticipated film.
Here are 13 points of interest we learned from last night's hour-long discussion.
1. Veronica Roth and Four have something in common: A fear of heights.
Roth admitted that one of Four's few fears (he has exactly four, notice a theme?) is a mirror of her own distaste for heights. She said that while she was most looking forward to seeing the scene where Tris and Four scale the Ferris wheel on Chicago's Navy Pier on film, she wouldn't go near the thing herself.
"I was really excited to see the Ferris wheel," Roth said. "Mostly because they told me they were going to shoot on the actual Ferris wheel. Shailene Woodley and Theo James are actually scaling the actual Ferris wheel...I didn't go up there!"
2. Don't expect Abnegation's outfits to be just 50 shades of grey.
In the books, each of the five factions that live in the city have their own color of clothing to represent them. Selfless Abnegation, for example, wears dreary grey, while badass Dauntless rocks an all-black look. Maybe not the most exciting costumes for cinema.
"The factions' monochromatic color palettes are kind of boring, visually," Roth admitted, then explained how the film's costumers changed up the look while still remaining true to the book. "Mostly they tried to keep the same color but they did different shades of it together so they don't actually just look like a sweatsuit. [For example] the Dauntless uniforms have a little bit of color on them, to form sort of a ranking system."
3. Roth's mom and Tris' mom have plenty in common.
Though Roth stressed that none of her characters are based closely on people from her real life, her mother is reflected in the book. She cited realizing that her parents had had a whole life before her that she could never know about as both an inspiration for the story and as a major step of growing into adulthood.
"One of the things I realized about my mom when I was younger, I realized that she was a badass," she said, before acknowledging that Mama Roth was in the audience and blushing it out.
4. Emma Stone, you're on call.
The author didn't Mary Sue herself into the books, she knows who would play her in a movie: "Emma Stone. I'm not like her, so I feel like that's misleading, but she could make me look really cool in the movie of my life."
She then mimed typing, hunched over, and said, "Here's the movie of my life, OK?"
5. Even bestselling authors can get starstruck by Kate Winslet.
When Winslet, who plays somewhat shady Erudite leader Jeanine, arrived on set, Roth lost her cool. Big "Titanic" fan, we guess?
"The best part for me was meeting Kate Winslet. I was so cool," Roth said, laughing. "I was like, 'Hi, so nice to meet you, I really like your work, ho-hum.' Then I sat down and I started laughing hysterically. I could not believe it."
6. Tobias' name has a total geek-cred origin.
"Tobias is a small homage to my favorite 'Animorphs' character," the 25-year-old author said.
7. Young Adult authors aren't the most familiar faces on movie sets.
"People would take me through tours of things [on set] and they'd act like I didn't know anything, so they'd explain the books to me," Roth said. "Like, 'The Abnegation wear their clothes this way because it represents this thing.' I said, 'Yeah, I know.'"
8. The cast had a pants-rippingly good time on set.
Christian Madsen, who plays Al in the movie, made a surprise appearance at the chat and shared a story about the inconvenience of honest-kid pants.
"This is weird, but Candor pants were very tight," Madsen explained of his character's costume. "There was a day we had to jump [off the train] past the camera onto a pad. There was like two stunt coordinator guys there to make sure we didn't fall. When we tried the test jump I realized that if I didn't brace myself and basically fall onto them, then my pants will rip. And so then Will jumps, and I kind of don't want to jump, and I jump and I landed and fell into the guy and when I got up, my pants had ripped. Miles [Teller] just didn't let me live that down forever, but I did jump off a train."
9. Erudite shoes aren't ideal either, for that matter.
If you're so smart, why didn't you get better shoes? That's what Ansel Elgort, who plays Abnegation-turned-Erudite Caleb, wondered when it was his turn to jump on and off trains.
"We had to run after the train all day, and I was wearing Erudite shoes," Elgort said. "These costumes were not very ideal for running after trains. We had to run after trains and my shoes didn't have good soles in them, I had blisters from running after the train all day, had to jump on it and turn to Tris and say something, and she'd be like "easy, right?" And I'd say, "Yeah, easy for you." And they kept being like...'make it look a little easier.' It's, I mean, it's like, really hard. They'd be like, 'Easier. A little easier.' Eventually I was like, frickin' focused on it, and that was it."
10. Roth may have landed herself on a watch list while researching 'Divergent.'
The author resigned herself to destroying her search history while writing the action-packed trilogy.
"I'm searching, like, how do you make an explosive? I want to know how you make one, or like, how do you get a bullet out?" she said. "Or, important question, should you get a bullet out? Or what kind of bullet wound kills people fastest? Also about ziplines, so it's not all about violence."
But kind of, mostly.
11. Shailene Woodley wouldn't be Dauntless.
"Divergent" provides a new spin on the game of sorting people into Hogwarts houses: Faction sorting. Roth had a ready answer when asked which faction her star Woodley would be in.
"Amity," she said, naming the faction known for their kindness and harmony. "Because of the organic food eating and also the general aura of kindness and friendship. She's one of those people who hugs everyone, which is funny because I hug almost no one, so she's like 'Hi, it's so great to meet you, I'm Shai!' and grabs them in this big hug, and I'm like this stiff thing."
FYI, she also said Beyonce and Lady Gaga would be in Dauntless. ("I mean, Sasha Fierce!")
12. The jury is out on just how smokin' hot Theo James is.
Or at least, Roth is. When asked by an audience member to rate James' sexiness "on a scale of one to four" (get it?), the author laughed.
"I'm not going to answer that!"
13. The trilogy was supposed to be about Caleb. (Not.)
Elgort, who also stars alongside Woodley in the upcoming "The Fault In Our Stars," joked that he was "an outcast on set" because he didn't often film with the other main characters, and didn't meet Roth for a time into shooting. When he did, though, he apparently made a big impression.
"She left me a book and signed me a book and said she was excited to have me as Caleb," he said, then added, laughing, "She said that Caleb was her favorite character, and that the book was supposed to be about Caleb."
Roth, for her part, just shook her head and laughed.