I know I’m way late to the game with this post about my reaction to the castings for the Divergent movie, since they’ve already been filming for about a month now. And I’m behind in general on this blog–sorry! Part of the reason is that I hate to post sub-par content, so when I don’t have time to really polish and fully research a topic, it lingers in draft-land for ages. The other reason is that I did a half-marathon (my first!) this spring and training for that took up a lot of time that might have otherwise been spent writing. Also I’m lazy and I don’t get paid for this blog so sometimes I choose to watch netflix instead. But still, I’m sorry I dropped out of action for awhile there and I’ll try to finish more of my lingering drafts soon and get them posted.
So, Shailene Woodley has been cast as the books’ narrator, Beatrice “Tris” Prior. I am “meh” about this casting; Shailene seems to be landing roles all over the place lately, so I’m sure she must be talented. I just haven’t seen much of her work, and I don’t really get a Tris vibe from her at all, maybe partly because I know she’s a hollywood actress who has been on lots of red carpets and at the oscars and stuff, which doesn’t match one of the things I related to about Tris’s background of being raised in a strict, selfless, conservative environment. But I know it’s a movie and good acting means you don’t have to be like the character in real life, so I’ll wait for the movie to come out and hope she surprises me.
Ansel Elgort, who is playing Tris’s brother Caleb in this film (but will also star with Shailene as the Augustus Waters to her Hazel Grace in The Fault in our Stars) tweeted a picture of the Prior Family the other day, with Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn as their parents. I think they do look like they could be related. I hope the actors are able to make me feel as strongly about their…I’ll juts say “choices of actions”, to avoid anything to spoilery–at the end of the first book.
One of the castings that I am most excited about is Kate Winslet in the role of villainous Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews. I think she will be a fantastic adversary for Tris, and I just hope the script allows her to have subtle complexities so she’s not a one-dimensional power-hungry monster. I think Kate Winslet is a good enough actress to be able to portray that in Jeanine’s mind, what she’s doing is for the collective good.
Another casting decision for this movie that could not be more perfect is Maggie Q as Dauntless faction member Tori. She administers Tris’s aptitude test, inks Tris’s tattoos, and warns her to keep her Divergence a secret. This casting is great for two reasons; one, if you’ve seen even a single episode of Nikita you know Maggie Q can totally pull off the Dauntless wear-black-shoot-guns-do-reckless-stuff attitude.
Second, her inclusion (and that of Zoe Kravitz as Tris’s friend, fellow Dauntless initiate Christina), means that the character diversity in the books is not being completely erased in the translation to film.
Someone asked Divergent author Veronica Roth about this before the movie was announced (click “source” to see her complete answer, as I’ve only included part of it here):
If the series ever gets turned into a movie, would you insist that the POC characters (biracial tobias, asian tori, and black christina, for example) are played by POC actors/actresses?
…I really hate whitewashing. I really do. It’s VERY important to me that it not happen. And I have communicated that already, and will continue to communicate it as clearly as possible (even via interpretive dance or sternly worded limericks, if necessary), to the people who are involved with the Divergent movie stuff as it proceeds.
So: if the Divergent movie happens, I promise I will USE MY WORDS to the very best of my ability.
My only quibble with Zoe Kravitz as Christina is that it flips the size difference between her and Tris as described in the books. Tris is supposed to be physically tiny, and often underestimated because of it, while Christina is tall and confident, but in real life Shailene Woodley is several inches taller than Zoe, who is book-Tris size. I don’t want to get hung up on the actors’ appearance because I know that the acting is the important thing, and there are movie magic tricks that can be done, but I worry that it might change their dynamic.
I’ve saved the best for last. One of my top literary character crushes, the badass yet sensitive Dauntless would-be leader and my, I mean, Tris’s, love interest, known as Four, will be portrayed on screen by Theo James. I don’t have much to say about this other than I AM SO EXCITED, and fully confident that he will be amazing in this role. I mean, just look at him!
You know, my predominant emotion about Divergent being made into a film is excitement, and I think the casting of characters is pretty great, but I am a little sad that once the film is out there will likely be less original fan art like the talented pieces I’ve been collecting on my divergentfanart tumblr, since people will start to sketch scenes featuring the actors instead of basing their drawings on their own interpretation of the description in the book. But then, it’s hard to be sad about the prospect of being forced to re-blog pictures that look like Theo James. I think I’ll survive.
Which Divergent casting are you most excited about?