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March 26, 2014

Behind the Scenes of the Divergent Advance Screening


Veronica Roth's bestselling YA Divergent series made its long-awaited theatrical debut last Friday. I was lucky enough (thanks to HarperCollins!) to catch an advanced screening on Thursday afternoon at one of the best theaters (and a personal fave!) in town. Just like any other Superfan (or diehard movie enthusiast), I would have willingly waited in line for a good seat at midnight as the flick delivered a star-studded cast, great music and the best part of all, a compelling story. But it was all made so much more enjoyable with a courtesy small popcorn and soda in hand. And I can't forget to mention the brief, but very heartfelt speech Roth gave as an introduction to the movie (yes, she was present in flesh and blood) --- she has a way of making each and every one of her readers feel like a special part of her book's growing success. I'll give you some highlights of the movie that are sure to make you more pumped about your planned viewing for this upcoming case you haven't seen it yet. (But, seriously...have you been living under a rock?!)

The Star-Studded Cast

Shailene Woodley (we all know her as the struggling teen in Clooney's The Descendants and as the female lead, Hazel, in the upcoming adaption of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS) is the main attraction. The transformation from her "homely" state in Abegnation faction to her fearless fervor in Dauntless is one that made for a visually stimulating transition. In the end, she joins the ranks as a fierce badass along with Theo James (who is shirtless for a glorious 30 seconds, making the female-dominated crowd go nuts!), Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz and my personal fave Jai Courtney (oh hey, Jai!). Right alongside the rising starlets of Hollywood were the silver screen staples like Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd and, last but not least, Mekhi Phifer...who we all dearly missed since Mile 8, among some other vintage greats. Ms. Roth even makes a small appearance (which also had the crowd roaring for more!). Her acting debut is a short segment, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

The Music

The original music score was produced by Hans Zimmer, famous for movies like The Lion KingInceptionThe Dark Knight and Pirates of the Caribbean, to name just a few. Throw in youthful, rising music celebrity star Ellie Goulding, who's new hit "Beating Heart" is topping the charts, along with tracks by Snow Patrol, A$AP Rocky and M83, among others, and you've got a killer soundtrack. Cue Spotify. Commence offline download now.

The Story

Where do I even begin? While the post-apocalyptic genre in YA lit may be on its way out, it's exploding on the screen. The cinematography (complete with a visually stimulating color palette and tone) and the intricate and seemingly massive set of a dystopic Chicago made Roth's story light up. The essence of the book took our imaginations to so many wonderful and slightly disturbing places; the movie doesn't fall short in recreating and enhancing that experience.

All in all, I left the theater feeling satisfied; pining for beautiful, muscular men; wanting to wear more black (as if that's possible); looking into getting more piercings, a tattoo...or both; thinking about starting an uprising; having a belly full of popcorn and already waiting for the second installment.

Nicole Sherman is the co-editor of