Saturday, 15 March 2014

Guest Post by Spencer Blohm: Divergent: From the Page to the Pictures

Ladies and Gentlemen, for your reading pleasure today, I have a brilliant guest post from freelance blogger Spencer Blohm who takes a look at how Veronica Roth's novel Divergent has made the transition from book to the big screen ...

Divergent: From the Page to the Pictures

On March 21st, the much anticipated Divergent will officially hit theaters in the U.S. (readers in Australia will have to wait a few more days, until April 10th, to see the film). You’ve likely seen reviews here on Divergent, the book, but watching the journey from the page to the big screen has been a long and exciting one, especially for author Veronica Roth.
            Roth has become a celebrity of sorts in the literary world after the massive success of Divergent, which was published in 2011 when she was only 23 years old. She wrote the book two years prior, at only 21, while attending classes at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The dystopian Chicago she created was something that spoke to readers, and earned her a large following. That same year, before any of the books were even published, she sold the rights for the whole trilogy to Summit Entertainment.
            From there, Roth’s involvement was limited, as screenwriters Evan Daugherty and Vanessa Taylor adapted the book. In an interview with Bookish, Daugherty explained the ways the film may differ from the book, mainly due to the condensing of the plotline into something more digestible for viewers: “It’s tricky because the book is a very packed read with a lot of big ideas...The movie is going to do it a little more efficiently.”
            When it came time to pick the director needed to bring Roth’s vision to life, Summit called on up-and-coming action/adventure director Neil Burger to direct (you might be familiar with his previous films, like Limitless and The Illusionist, both of which you can stream online via DirecTV or Netflix ahead of Divergent’s release). To stay true to the book, Burger and his crew filmed the majority of the movie in Chicago, where the book was set, under the codename “Catbird.” They transformed Chicago icons like the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel and the famed Michigan Avenue into decaying figures of the future. There is even a rumored aerial stunt involving the John Hancock Tower, one of Chicago’s most famous skyscrapers.
            As previously mentioned, Roth had relatively limited involvement in the film. However, that shouldn’t cause fans any worry! Roth has stated publicly on her Tumblr that she “loved it” and thought it was “beautifully shot.” Roth generally isn’t one to mince her words or feelings, so if she enjoyed the film, and believes it captured the essence of her book, I’d say chances are Burger did a phenomenal job.

            For those of you already anticipating the next film in the series, rumor has it that shooting will start sometime in May and continue throughout the summer. As of right now, the tentative release date for Insurgent is March 2015. Depending on the success of Divergent, which many anticipate will be a smash hit, expect the next two films to be even bigger and better.