Insurgent: Sequel to Divergent

insurgent_posterThe Divergent Series: Insurgent begins three days after the end of Divergent, when Tris and Four hindered Jeanine’s plot to use mind-controlled Dauntless troops to exterminate the population of Abnegation.

But the victory comes at a terrible personal cost for Tris. Both her parents are killed in the battle, as is her fellow Dauntless initiate Will, whom she is forced to shoot when he attacks her under the influence of a brain-altering serum.

Like Divergent, Insurgent is set in the ruins of a futuristic, walled Chicago where survivors are divided into five factions based on their abilities, temperaments and personal preferences.

Members of the Abnegation faction are selfless, Amity are peaceful, Candor are honest, Dauntless are brave and Erudite are intelligent. Those who belong to no faction are known simply as Factionless.

In the first film, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, who grew up as Abnegation, learns through a government-administered aptitude test that she is Divergent, meaning she has attributes of multiple factions. Because Divergents are independent thinkers who cannot be controlled by any faction, they are considered dangerous. Upon learning her traits put her at risk, she chooses to join Dauntless to conceal her Divergent identity. But as part of her rigorous training, she is forced to take part in hallucinatory simulations (SIMs) that reveal her unique abilities. She finds a much-needed ally—and eventually a love interest—in Tobias “Four” Eaton, a Dauntless instructor and expert fighter who is also revealed to be Divergent.

insurgent_10_woodleyIn Insurgent, the stakes and the action are raised dramatically as Divergents are hunted throughout the city by Jeanine’s brutal militias and Tris and Four realize they must find a way to stop her.

“From the first pages of the book Insurgent, we knew that Veronica Roth must have been drinking rocket fuel when she wrote the story,” says producer Douglas Wick. “It starts with Tris being chased, and the action never lets up. We built the world in Divergent and now in Insurgent, we tear it up.”

At the beginning of  Insurgent, Jeanine locates an elusive five-sided locked box with each side bearing the seal of each faction. She is convinced it contains a message with the key to the future which can only be unlocked by a Divergent possessing qualities of all five factions. Jeanine hunts down all the Divergents she can find and puts them through a rigorous testing process to see who can open it. They must endure five different SIMs, which are far more brutal and violent than any that appeared in Divergent.

For the filmmakers, that meant creating more eye-popping action scenes, many of which occur in the far more challenging and terrifying SIMs that Tris is forced to take part in as Jeanine seeks to unlock the secrets of the Divergents’ power. This mind-bending action is just one of the aspects of The Divergent Series: Insurgent that raises the bar and accelerates Tris’ exciting story that readers know and love.

“The book release of Insurgent was when the Divergent series truly took off and became a publishing phenomenon. Veronica wrote a roller coaster of a book with incredible twists and turns that really captured the imagination of fans, who spread the word like wildfire,” says producer Pouya Shahbazian. “In Insurgent the city is in upheaval and new secrets are coming to light. While in the first movie, Jeanine pinpoints the Divergents as being a problem she wants to eliminate, in this movie, we learn very quickly that Jeanine is determined to capture them and use them to discover a powerful secret to which only they hold the key..”

According to Roth, writing Insurgent allowed her to flesh out Tris’ world in a way she wasn’t able to do in Divergent, partially because the first book was written in the first person. “It’s a little bit like growing up,” the author says. “When you’re a child, the world is very small, and when we get older, we realize how large the world really is. Insurgent is the world getting a little bit bigger and Tris is experiencing that in a very literal way … first it’s one faction, then it’s two factions, then it’s the entire city of Chicago.”

With Tris and Four on the run and searching for answers across the war-torn city, the audience is taken on a journey through the unique and visually arresting environments inhabited by each faction. “In the first film, we saw these fun and visceral full-metal-jacket training sequences, but they were confined to the dark and gloomy Dauntless compound for much of the film,” says Wick. “In this movie, we start off in the beautiful lush fields, honeycomb beehive dome and signature tree of Amity. Then they travel to Factionless, where we see this curiosity of functionality and aesthetics in a wondrous, slightly enchanted and disenfranchised place. Then the characters go to Candor and we encounter what these starkly dressed, unrelentingly honest people are like, and finally we check out the depths of the Erudite world inside Jeanine’s high-tech lab.”

The most impressive landscapes in the film, however, may be those that take place inside Tris’ mind. After a number of attacks on the factions who have provided refuge to Tris, Four and the Dauntless rebels, Tris realizes that the only way to stop Jeanine from hurting anyone else is to turn herself in to Jeanine at Erudite headquarters. When she surrenders herself there, Jeanine subjects her to an increasingly intense series of SIMs. “The SIMs are a defining characteristic of this movie in terms of style and tone,” says producer Lucy Fisher. “The internal forces influencing Tris are even more dramatic, more colorful, and more riveting than the external ones. In her SIMs, she has to contend with all of her demons and, luckily for us, director Robert Schwentke and visual-effects-maestro James Madigan concocted a way to show us what’s inside Tris’ head that’s so visual and so exciting that even though her dreams are torturous for her, they’re really exciting for us to watch.”

Shahbazian agrees, “The SIMs are so action-packed and so imaginative. They have taken what Veronica wrote and added to them, made them more explosive and more cinematic with the most cutting edge filmmaking technology available today.”

Insurgent is a high-octane action-adventure packed with excitement and suspense,” says Erik Feig, Co-President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, who also played an instrumental role in the development and production of blockbuster book-based franchises The Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga. “It combines a riveting plot, an extraordinary cast and a lot of heart with intense stunt work and visual effects to deliver an extremely satisfying and unique movie-going experience.”

To provide audiences with the ultimate way to enjoy The Divergent Series: Insurgent’s mind-blowing visuals and sound, Lionsgate is also releasing the film in IMAX® 3D and RealD™ 3D. “The film will be released in RealD™ 3D but it has also been digitally re-mastered using IMAX®’s unique, proprietary technology,” said Feig. “The crystal-clear images, coupled with the large-screen format, customized theater geometry and powerful digital audio will make audiences feel as if they are right in the middle of the incredible futuristic world the filmmakers have created.”

The best-selling novel, Insurgent, was written by author Veronica Roth, whose first novel, Divergent, topped The New York Times Best Seller list after it was published in 2011. Divergent made NPR and Barnes & Noble’s “Best Books of 2011” list and was voted “Favorite Book of the Year” by Goodreads members. Roth wrote the book while an undergraduate at Northwestern University. She soon followed up with Insurgent, which also hit No. 1 on The New York Times Best Sellers list. In 2013 she released Allegiant, the final book in the series, which sold 455,000 copies on its first day to break a company record for HarperCollins. Pre-orders for Allegiant exceeded those of any book in the history of HarperCollins.

As they adapt Veronica Roth’s best-selling book series, the filmmakers are ever aware of the immense responsibility that comes with bringing a beloved author’s work to the screen. “The Divergent series has sold well over 30 million copies,” notes Wick. “Whenever we got a little lost about what liberties to take in streamlining the story, we always remembered that Veronica was the oracle. Whatever good idea any of us thought we were having, we also remembered people bought Veronica’s books, not ours.”

According to Fisher, having Roth available to discuss production and plot issues with was priceless. “We’re very lucky to have a living author to consult with,” she says. “On our last movie (The Great Gatsby) F.Scott Fitzgerald wasn’t really available. Veronica was very much a part of this process as a resource and sounding board.”

Roth says she appreciates the care the producers put into adapting her work. “Doug and Lucy have a lot of respect for the story and that’s a huge asset,” says the author. “They understand what works and can pinpoint what will be difficult to translate.”

Although the filmmakers made every effort to stay true to the themes and characters of the books, Roth understood that some changes needed to be made to present the 544-page novel in a two-hour movie. “In the book, there’s more freedom to do a weird structure and explain things slowly. But on screen, it has to be fast and concise and clear. I’m always really open-minded to change as long as it creates a better and stronger story. One thing that was very important to me was to ensure that the dynamic between Tris and Four remained the same, and that she is still the primary mover of the plot. And in Insurgent, it is still Tris’ story.”