Theo James Cast As Four In ‘Divergent’; Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson And Miles Teller Also Starring
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.”
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Talking up the network’s mid-season cop drama Golden Boy, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said today at TCA that they initially had seen the new lead-in for Blue Bloods as a “star vehicle” for Theo James, portraying an ambitious cop who becomes the youngest police commissioner in the history of New York City. But she said when network executives watched the pilot, they began seeing the relationship between James’ character and his mentor-father figure on the force, Chi McBride’s Detective Dan Owen. “You could see the show was evolving into a different kind of show, a two-hander between these two actors,” said Tassler of the drama, created by NYPD Blue / Law & Order veteran Nicholas Wootton and executive produced by Wootton and Greg Berlanti.
At the Golden Boy panel following Tassler’s Q&A remarks, actors James and McBride talked about the chemistry. “It developed naturally from pilot synergy,” British actor James said. “It’s a little bit of art imitating life. I’m a young English punk coming over and McBride is a veteran actor,” he said. He compared the relationship to Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Joked McBride: “First of all will you stop with the accent already? He’s from Long Beach.” More seriously, he added: “There are a lot of parallels with our real life, I took Theo out for his first cigar. This is not a typical kind of cop show, I love that it’s character-driven. This is my partner. We are friends off-camera and on.”