I know, I know, it’s only been five months since Gary Ross‘ The Hunger Games hit theaters, but I’m just itching for another trilogy-starting young-adult adaptation — and, hey, thanks to Variety, it looks like we may be getting one soon enough. The report breaks the news that Neil Burger, who last directed Limitless to commercial (and modest critical) success, is now in negotiations to direct Divergent, an adaption of Veronica Roth‘s debut novel, for Summit Entertainment.
Apparently, Burger “edged out several high-profile filmmakers” for the job, so it’s reasonable to assume, with that in mind, that Burger will take advantage of the opportunity and secure a deal. After all, considering the monstrous success of The Hunger Games — not to mention Summit’s own Twilight franchise, which will be concluding itself this year — it’s unlikely that this would end up a wrong step, money-wise, for the American writer-director.
Roth‘s novel, published in May of 2011, “quickly made the New York Times’ bestseller list, and has sold more than 1.28 million copies.” Adaptation rights to its successor, Insurgent, which was published almost exactly a year after Divergent, have also been acquired by Summit. The planned third book, currently without a title, “is due out in fall 2013.”
Somewhat promisingly, at least to my taste, the storyline of Roth‘s trilogy appears to align itself more with The Hunger Games, as opposed to Twilight. It has a futuristic, and reportedly violent, setting — “a world where society is divided into five factions that represent a particular virtue, including honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness and intelligence.” The main character is a 16-year-old girl named Beatrice Prior — let’s hope the rest of the players, unlike in The Hunger Games, have similarly normal-sounding names.
Evan Daugherty, who made his feature-length screenwriting debut with this year’s Snow White and the Huntsman, “was hired to adapt the book last summer.” The studio “is planning to start production in March with the aim of releasing the pic in the first quarter of 2014” — a decision, I’m sure, that was made in large part due to the early-year, pre-summer success of The Hunger Games.
I’m guessing we’ll hear about the confirmation, or cancellation, of Burger‘s attachment fairly soon. It’ll be interesting, too, to track how laborious the central-casting process will end up being.
Are you familiar with Roth’s novels? Do you think Burger is the right director to bring them (or at least the first one) to the big screen?
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