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'Limitless' Helmer Neil Burger To Direct First Installment Of New Young Adult Trilogy 'Divergent'

by Kevin Jagernauth
August 23, 2012 5:08 PM
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Earlier this year, we dipped into the world of young adult fiction and drummed up a list of 15 properties that could be the next "The Hunger Games" or "Twilight." And among the titles mentioned, just at the end, was "Divergent." We noted that work started on it a couple years ago, but there didn't seem to be much movement, but lo and behold, it's now moving full steam ahead.

"Limitless" helmer Neil Burger is in early talks to direct the first of what will be a trilogy, with production starting in March of next year for release in the spring of 2014. Based on the book by Veronica Roth, the story follows sixteen year-old Beatrice, who lives in a dystopian future (obviously) where society is divided into five factions based on virtue: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Forced to choose which one she'll live in for the rest of her life -- a decision that pulls her between being with her family and staying true to who she is -- Beatrice makes a decision that surprises everyone, and leads to adventure, romance, etc.

It bears all the hallmarks of YA fare -- big narrative concept, simple thematic idea -- but it seems to have caught a cultural current, with the first book selling more than 1.2 million copies. The followup "Insurgent" was published in May, with a third book coming next year, so all the material is here. Last we heard Evan Daugherty ("Snow White And The Huntsman") penned the script.

While we hoped the talented Burger would be doing one of the other more interesting projects that he's become attached to in the past twelve months or so like the Bonnie and Clyde pic, or Dennis Lehane's "Animal Rescue," in today's climate, that stuff just doesn't get easily financed or greenlit (and as for "Uncharted" that video game movie seems stuck in development hell). So, are we looking at the next big box office success? Can Burger lead the way? That will be up to the fans of the books to decide. [Variety

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  • Ugh | August 23, 2012 5:21 PMReply

    I never know where these series come from. But if there are three books don't expect the film series aiming to be a trilogy.... the last book HAS to be two films of course.

  • Kim | August 23, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    I finished the sequel to "Divergent" like 3 weeks ago(? Maybe a month ago? I was on vacation.). My main problem with this series was the main character is action packed and does these stunts, along with the other Dauntless, and never get hurt. But then stuff happens to people in the other factions, being shot for example, and the other factions get hurt super bad. That and *spoiler* the Dauntless get tattooed and pierced and that hurts more than getting shot *end spoiler*. I liked the books, but as someone who works in healthcare seeing minor injuries I was really frustrated with the Dauntless having traumas and bones sticking out and it's like a "flesh wound." I wonder what this director will do.

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