Trivia / Divergent

The Books

  • Fan Community Nicknames: The series has an interesting case in which the fans refer to themselves by whichever faction in the books they identify themselves with. (Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, Abnegation, Candor). However, sometimes "Factionless" is used as a general term for all of them, based off the name of one of the fansites. The common overall term is "Initiates".
  • Follow the Leader: Follows the success of The Hunger Games, being a Young Adult Dystopia novel with a female lead and an emphasis on romance. Also holds to a similar structure: 16-year old Action Girl protagonist, present-tense first-person narration, love interest (though a surprising lack of a love triangle), and angst. The novels also have covers featuring circular emblems reminiscent of the Mockingjay pin.
  • The Wiki Rule: Divergent Wiki.
  • What Could Have Been: The books were originally going to be written from Four's perspective. In a prequel novel following his transfer to Dauntless, a handful of the original scenes from his POV were included.
  • Working Title: Played for Laughs when Allegiant received the working title Detergent.

The Films

  • Actor Allusion:
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Theo James opted not to bulk up too much, feeling a slender and athletic build was more suited for Four.
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: How did Shailene Woodley convince her friend Miles Teller to take the role of Peter? By saying he'd get to punch her in the face.
  • Box Office Bomb: The Divergent Series: Allegiant — Budget, $110 million. Box office, $65,872,818 (domestic), $159,928,683 (worldwide). This resulted in substantial budget cuts for the final film.
  • Cast the Expert: Theo James is a trained boxer, so already had some experience with combat sports.
  • Creator Backlash:
    • Miles Teller said he only took the role for "business reasons" and that it made him feel "dead inside". He had to do a rather large Verbal Backspace when the sequels were greenlit.
    • Shailene Woodley has hinted that she didn't like the direction The Divergent Series: Insurgent went in, due to the film differing so much from Neil Burger's original vision.
  • Creator Cameo: Author of the book series Veronica Roth has a cameo during the zipline scene in Divergent. She's the first person to come through the door onto the roof.
  • Dawson Casting: Pretty much every teen in the series is played by an actor well into their 20's. The only one who's closest to their characters' age is 16-year-old Caleb, who's portrayed by then-19-year-old Ansel Elgort.
    • 18-year-old Four is played by 28-year-old Theo James. Word of God specifically cast the latter due to Ability over Appearance, but it's especially egregious in The Divergent Series: Allegiant where he was now thirty. Eric, who's in Four's generation, also counts, being played by 27-year-old Jai Courtney. They left the two's ages deliberately vague as a result.
    • 16-year-old Tris is played by 23-year-old Shailene Woodley. Keep in mind that she's supposed to be the younger non-twin sister of Caleb (though no more than eleven months, since they partake in the same Aptitude Test), and yet Ms. Woodley is four years older than Mr. Elgort.
    • Not to mention Tris' fellow 16-year-old colleagues: Al (played by Christian Madsen, who was 22), Christina and Will (Zoë Kravitz and Ben Llyod-Hughes, respectively, who were both 26), and Peter (Miles Teller, who was 28).
    • The Divergent Series: Insurgent adds more Dawsons into the "16-year-old" lineup: Marlene and Uriah (Suki Waterhouse and Keiynan Lonsdale, respectively, 22) and Lynn (Rosa Salazar, 29).
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
    • For Divergent, Shailene Woodley had her dark brown hair lightened to blonde.
    • In a rare case of another film affecting this one, Woodley had to cut her hair short for The Fault in Our Stars and didn't have time to grow it again for The Divergent Series: Insurgent. As Tris gets an Important Haircut in Insurgent, she opted to cut her hair into a pixie rather than wear a wig to match the book (where the haircut is only to chin-length). By The Divergent Series: Allegiant, the hair matches the books.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Kate Winslet came onto production a little later than everyone else, and kept her distance from the younger actors at first. The result was that she came across as aloof and the cast were intimidated by her.
  • Fake American: The series is set in Chicago, and yet half of the main cast are played by actors from somewhere in the British Isles.
    • The Eaton/Johnson family is made up of Fake Americans. Theo James (Four) is English, while Ray Stevenson (Marcus) is Northern Irish. Naomi Watts (Evelyn) is born in England but raised in Australia.
    • Other English actors include Kate Winslet (Jeanine), Ben Llyod-Hughes (Will), Suki Waterhouse (Marlene), and Janet McTeer (Edith Prior).
    • Jai Courtney (Eric) and Keiynan Lonsdale (Uriah) are both Australians.
    • The Divergent Series: Allegiant adds non-Anglophone actors into the fake American list: the Swedish Bill Skarsgård (Matthew) and the German Nadia Hilker (Nita).
  • Follow the Leader: The film is one of the many film adaptations of Young Adult books with dystopian settings, spawned from the success of The Hunger Games. The film's rights were first purchased after the success of Twilight, where a dozen other Young Adult books were put up for adaptation.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Kate Winslet was five months pregnant while shooting, so she was mostly only shot from the waist up. In wider shots, she's usually carrying a folder or iPad in front of her bump.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Caleb is the Non-Action Guy and notably can't keep up with Tris and Four while running because he's had no training. His actor Ansel Elgort is a trained dancer and is pretty ripped under the baggy clothes.
  • The Other Marty: Aaron Eckhart was cast as Andrew, but dropped out at the last minute, and was replaced with Tony Goldwyn.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • The main villain is being played by Kate Winslet, primarily known for playing romantic leads. She also tends to do a lot of period pieces, so a movie set in a dystopian future seems out of place for her. According to her, she took the role partially because she wanted to do something drastically different.
    • Jai Courtney was previously known as Varo, quite possibly the only genuine Nice Guy in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. So here he's playing Drill Sergeant Nasty Eric.
  • Playing Gertrude:
    • Due to Theo James being significantly older than his character Four, this is the result with Fourís mother Evelyn. Naomi Watts who plays Evelyn is sixteen years older than James. Evelyn does at least say she was young when she left Marcus.
    • Ansel Elgort plays the older Prior sibling despite being four years younger than Shailene Woodley who plays his sister.
  • Playing with Character Type: Naomi Watts often plays heroic Woobies that endure plenty of suffering. Here she's a Jerkass Woobie who's causing the suffering.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Octavia Spencer (Johanna) describes herself as "a huge fangirl of the books" and saw the first film twice in one weekend.
  • Sleeper Hit: Ever since The Hunger Games came out, other young-adult adaptations flopped, and this was expected to follow suit. Divergent didn't, and proved to be a profitable film with a big $50 million opening and helped strongly boost sales for the book series. It's says a lot when a movie based on one of the most lucrative franchises in history flopped just by going against it.
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Kate Winslet played Jeannine partially for this reason, joking that it's the one film of hers that her kids won't have to see her naked in. She also joked that her kids became very cool at school when word got out that their mother was Jeannine.
  • Star-Making Role: This film shot Shailene Woodley to superstardom and put Theo James on the map. Ansel Elgort was also an unknown prior to this film, but his true star-making role had yet to come.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Miles Teller auditioned for the role of Four, but producers thought he was a better fit for Eric. He turned it down, feeling he couldn't be intimidating against Theo James. Shailene Woodley personally persuaded him to take the role of Peter instead.
    • A love scene was filmed between Tris and Four, but cut to preserve the PG-13 rating.
    • Similarly Edward being stabbed in the eye was also filmed, but cut to avoid an R rating. Word of God also says that it interrupted the flow of the scene anyway.
    • Kate Winslet wanted to return for The Divergent Series: Allegiant and let the filmmakers know she was available to cameo. They ultimately decided against it.
    • Neil Burger was to direct all the movies. But, overwhelmed by post production commitments to Divergent, he backed out of The Divergent Series: Insurgent (which was greenlit hurriedly after high advance ticket sales).

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