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Casting Watch: Ashley Judd Nabs Role in Sci-Fi YA Entry 'Divergent,' Starring Kate Winslet, Theo James and Shailene Woodley UPDATE

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! April 15, 2013 at 11:35AM

Ashley Judd has been cast in one of the last major roles in "Divergent," starring Kate Winslet, Theo James ("Downton Abbey") and Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"). The film is based on the bestselling YA novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, and has begun principal photography in Chicago.
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Ashley Judd
Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd has been cast in one of the last major roles in "Divergent," starring Kate Winslet, Theo James ("Downton Abbey") and Shailene Woodley ("The Descendants"), confirms The Hollywood Reporter. The film is based on the bestselling YA novel of the same name by Veronica Roth, and has begun principal photography in Chicago.

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet

Judd, who recently considered running for Senate and currently has a role in "Olympus Has Fallen," will play Woodley's mother.

Ray Stephenson and Mekhi Pfifer are joining the sprawling cast, which also includes Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Ben Lamb, Christian Madsen and Amy Newbold.

“Divergent,” to be directed by Neil Burger ("The Illusionist," "Limitless") stands to be another young adult-oriented box-office hopeful for Lionsgate, which spawned the hugely successful “The Hunger Games.”

Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley

(Here's TOH's round-up of upcoming YA movies.) Summit Entertainment’s sci-fi action film is adapted by Evan Daugherty ("Snow White and the Huntsman") and is the company's bid for a new franchise. Lionsgate co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger, who brought the YA “Twilight” saga to the screen with blockbuster results at Summit before their company was acquired by Lionsgate, purchased the rights to the book last October.

Roth’s novel, set in a dystopian Chicago, concerns a futuristic society in which individuals who do not fit easily into certain personality types are labeled as “divergent.” Winslet will star as brainy Erudite Divergent Jeanine Matthews; Woodley is Tris Prior, a Divergent who unveils a mass conspiracy to destroy the titular group. Hailing from a group called the Dauntless, James plays Four, an instructor who joins her quest.

28-year-old James played a role in the first season of “

Theo James
Theo James

Downton Abbey,” and has since enjoyed increasing success as David in 2012’s “Underworld: Awakening” and the leading role in CBS’s new crime drama, “Golden Boy.” 

Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing the project via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner along with Pouya Shahbazian. Red Wagon's Rachel Shane is executive producing.  Summit will release the film theatrically in North America in "The Hunger Games" slot on Friday, March 21, 2014.


This article is related to: News, News, Summit, Summit Entertainment, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, CASTING WATCH


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.