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Kate Winslet Joins Young Adult Adaptation 'Divergent' Alongside Shailene Woodley

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 24, 2013 6:57 PM
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Divergent Kate Winslet Shailene Woodley

While she did star in in "Titanic," which wound up becoming on of the biggest movies of all time, Kate Winslet has, before and since, stayed away from franchise territory. The closest she's ever come to a tentpole was probably Steven Soderbergh's "Contagion," or maybe the Aardman animation "Flushed Away," but in general, she's preferred to stick to artsier, more awards-baity fare, working with directors like Roman Polanski, Todd Haynes and Jason Reitman.

But it looks like she might have found something tempting, as Summit Entertainment reveals that Kate Winslet has joined "Divergent," the studio's adaptation of the best-selling young adult novel. With a script from "Snow White & The Huntsman" scribe Evan Daughtery, rewritten by Vanessa Taylor ("Game Of Thrones," "Hope Springs," winner of the 2012 most incongruous credits award), and Neil Burger ("The Illusionist," "Limitless") in the director's chair, the studio are clearly hoping for the film to be the next "Twilight" or "Hunger Games," and look to be landing as prestigious a name as has been involved with either series.

The plot is set in a dystopian future where people are divided in factions separated by their qualities -- selflessness, intelligence, honesty, peacefulness and bravery -- and focuses on a girl, Tris, who discovesr she's a Divergent, caught between multiple traits. "The Descendants" and "The Spectacular Now" star Shailene Woodley is signed on to play the lead, while Jeremy Irvine, Lucas Till and Alex Pettyfer were testing for the male lead, but Variety says that the filmmakers have decided to go older for the role.

What isn't clear is what role Winslet would play. Our quick glance at Wikipedia doesn't suggest an older female character, other than Tris' mother Natalie, but there's no indication of how big a role that is. Is there some kind of villain that Winslet might play instead? Fans of the book, please do illuminate us. At any rate, we should be finding out soonish, as the film will open on March 21, 2014.

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More: Divergent, Kate Winslet

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  • mtX | January 25, 2013 6:54 AMReply

    To answer the question at the end of the article, there is one major female role other the lead and her friends. I'm talking about "Jeanine Mathews", she is the leader of the Erudite faction, a brilliant and heartless scientist who will... well, "cause problems" throughout the franchise (understatement of the year, since she is the Franchise's main villain). Let's just say that there are conspiracies in place because of Jeanine, and without wanting to spoil, she will be responsible for a lot of people dying. Once I read the news about Kate Winslet being Cast, I immediately thought she would play Jeanine. People are saying she could play the lead's mother, but I think that role is too small for such a High Profile actress.

  • Joe | January 24, 2013 8:43 PMReply

    In answer to the question at the end of the article, the mother role is important but pretty small, so probably not Winslet's role. There is a major villain-y female character (the head of the "Erudite" group), Jeanine Matthews, who would be a good fit for Winslet. She has a bigger role in the second book.

  • DG | January 24, 2013 7:35 PMReply

    Contagion is a tentpole movie?

  • Re | January 24, 2013 7:16 PMReply

    Let's be real they offered a truck full of money and her daughter may be a fan of the books as she is in that YA bracket. It's got nothing do with quality. Summit offer her beaucoup bucks to give the film some credibility and she gets money and a hopefully successful franchise on her resume for probably not much more than a few weeks work. Do these prestigious names attaching themselves to these types of movies really say anything about the movie quality though? I mean that Beautiful Creatures YA movie coming up has Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Eileen Atkins and still looks like complete and utter refried CW show crap?

  • Emma | January 24, 2013 7:26 PM

    Yeah, and the same thing happened with Philip Seymour Hoffman signing on for The Hunger Games 2. A lot of well respected actors and actresses have franchises in their careers; what makes Kate so different?

  • Superzoom | January 24, 2013 7:15 PMReply

    "Snow White & The Huntsman" had a truly awful story and script. Chase, fight, chase, fight, chase, fight does not constitute a story. I hope Vanessa Taylor is throwing out Evan Daughtery's original script and starting fresh. Two rewrites couldn't save "Snow White."

  • Emma | January 24, 2013 7:15 PMReply

    @Kris: How so?

  • kris | January 24, 2013 8:26 PM

    look you dont get the point.i want to see kate in franchises alot.and i said million times this is wrong project.50 shades of grey has a fan base too but nobody wants do it.i want to see kate in franchise with great director and studios.this isn't franchise like George Miller 's Fury Road or David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.divergent is young adult book!and this is about Shailene Woodley's not against the see marion cotillard in dark knight rises or inception also im not against the see theron in mad max i wish kate choose the movies like that...

  • Emma | January 24, 2013 8:00 PM

    I just gave names. Kate is a successful actress with a great career. Divergent is based on a book; it already has a fan base that will draw people to the movie. Meryl Streep worked alongside screenwriter Vanessa Taylor on Hope Springs; her career is fine. Relax. Kate is a woman first of all, and women who get older have a harder time in the business. Franchises like this help strengthen their careers because the success of a franchise keeps their name in the Hollywood circle and gives them power to do smaller films. I think you're paranoid just because it's a big budget movie and you're not used to seeing Kate in that type of movie.

  • kris | January 24, 2013 7:49 PM

    who?give me a name. can we really compare kate with psh or jeremy irons?they are respected actors but they have not career like kate.she only 37 years old and this movie cant give her a fanbase like she needs to a said im not agains to big franchises but this project is so wrong.if she join the nolans batman trilogy nobody can against to her or peter jackson's my opinion working with screenwriter like vanessa tyler or director like neil burger bizarre choice for her career.
    p.s i believe her role is gonna be like mommy type of role and this isn't what weisz doing in bourne.

  • Emma | January 24, 2013 7:37 PM

    Yes of course I know who Kate Winslet is! I'm not saying it's the exact same thing as Blanchett/Lord of the Rings. My point is that a lot of well respected actors and actresses have franchises in their careers. What's the big deal when Kate does it? She's trying something new and it's a good career move because it gives her a fan base as well as star power. Like Blanchett and Swinton, she's balancing small stories with franchises. She's also doing a film called 'A Little Chaos' directed by Alan Rickman, and 'Labor Day' directed by Jason Reitman will be released this year. Kate is doing just fine. She's not choosing crap movies that no one has heard of. This is a best selling novel and the movie screenplay is written by Vanessa Taylor (who also wrote for the show 'Game of Thrones' and the film 'Hope Springs' with Meryl Streep). Kate is a risk taker! She always surprises me with her choices.

  • kris | January 24, 2013 7:28 PM

    are you kidding?do you know who is kate winslet?do you seriosly think divergent is a franchise suitable for her?are you really compare the young adult movie which is going to be directed by Neil Burger and its same thing like blanchett in lotr?if she wants to good career move than she needs to look at gone girl with fincher or inherent vice with least interstellar with nolan..

  • kris | January 24, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    she lost her mind,literally.

  • Emma | January 24, 2013 7:07 PMReply

    Vanessa Taylor rewrote the screenplay? That's a good sign. Great news for Kate! Tilda Swinton has Chronicles of Narnia, Cate Blanchett has Lord of the Rings, Kate needs a franchise. :) Good career move.

  • trimmel | January 25, 2013 9:56 AM

    They rewrote the script and Kate should play the main villain, i hope she will play this role not the mother. It's an interesting choice!

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