‘Divergent’ Set Visit, Part 2: ‘Divergent’ vs. ‘Hunger Games’
After the monumental success of The Hunger Games, it’s impossible to release another young-adult, book-to-film adaptation without folks drawing comparisons. Sure, Divergent also involves teenagers in life-or-death situations and a little dystopian romance, but they’re also strikingly different in a number of respects.
While on the Divergent set in Chicago, producer Douglas Wick and the cast of the film pinpointed a few elements that make their YA adaptation a standout.
Hunger Games Is Rural, Divergent Is Urban: “We were always mindful that there would be that comparison,” Wick admitted. “The Hunger Games is mostly in the woods. Much of the visuals of the movie are people fighting in a kind of rustic environment. Here, our movie is very much in an urban world.”
Hunger Games Is Big and Bold, Divergent Is Simple: Considering Divergent's Zoe Kravitz’s (Christina) father stars in The Hunger Games, it’s quite appropriate that she thinks Hunger Games was great. But, she pointed out, “I just think they are different films. [Director] Neil [Burger] I think has even gone away from the really dramatic look. No one has blue lips. Everyone is really, really simple, which I think is a really cool way to go with it. The lighting and everything, it’s all very simple.”
Kids Are Selected for the Hunger Games, Kids Choose to Join Dauntless: Said Amy Newbold (Molly), “ The difference with Dauntless is that all of these initiates have chosen this and this idea of bravery is something that resonates with them. I feel like that’s a little bit different than your name being pulled out of something and then being thrown into this arena where you have to kill.” She continued, “We aren’t asked to kill anyone… it is brutal, but it’s also chosen. I think it’s more about the characteristic, the virtue of bravery than it is about the actual inflicting pain on others or pushing you to your absolute breaking point.”
Even though there are clearly major differences in the two films' narrative, there is no denying that both projects are on the same track when it comes to franchise potential and amassing an enormous fan base. Even though the film was still a year away from the big screen, Divergent fans were already showing their pride by flocking to the film’s Chicago set.
Meeting the Fans: Christian Madsen (Al) insisted, “Obviously I’m nobody, I’m not used to this stuff, but the first time I got a little bit of a taste of it was when I went to go visit set when I wasn’t shooting to just kind of hang out.” He continued, “I was close to set and there were some people just right outside in their cars, screaming. I was like, ‘Oh, was there a car accident?’ I don’t get it yet, but yeah, they were screaming ‘Christian! Come over here! Al!’ I was like, ‘What?’ It was just very weird. I went over and she was just like, shaking.” He added, “That’s what we’re doing it for, these people that read the book, the fans.”
Advice from Katniss: Kravitz admitted, “I was definitely aware, especially now that we have Twilight and Hunger Games, how it affects the people’s lives who are in it, so I was cautious.” In that situation, who better to ask for advice on joining a potential YA movie franchise than Jennifer Lawrence? When Kravitz asked for Lawrence’s opinion on whether or not she should take the gig, Kravitz recalled, “She was just like, ‘Do it.’ She was super, super supportive. And it’s obviously changed her life quite a bit for the best. She’s killin’ it.”
Woodley Is a Strong Woman, Just Like Lawrence: Come March 15, 2014, should Divergent open as big as The Hunger Games, Shailene Woodley could be propelled up to a new tier of stardom. Is she ready? Kravitz thinks so. “I’m sure it’s going to change [Shailene’s] life a lot. She knows that. But they’re both really strong women.” Kravitz continued, “Jen’s handled it beautifully. She’s the exact same person she was when I first met her. Literally, nothing’s changed. A little more antisocial sometimes because she leaves the house and people go crazy, but she’s the exact same person.” She added, “And Shailene, too, is one of the most authentic young women I’ve ever met in my life and I’m not worried at all."
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