LA Times Hero Complex goes behind the scenes of Dauntless training, and chat’s with Divergent producer’s Lucy Fisher and Doug Wick about Veronica’s input in the films, and Insurgent director Robert Schwentke.
Hero Complex: Has the success of “Divergent” been what you expected?
Douglas Wick: You’re always nervous, because it’s such a long journey, a long haul, and you’re very emotionally attached, and you’re hoping it has a great life.
Lucy Fisher: You’re just hoping people see it.
HC: And you’ve been working on “Insurgent” even before “Divergent” was out the door. What’s it been like working with a new director in Robert Schwentke and new screenwriters?
DW: It’s been exciting. The first process was great, and we were in the unusual circumstance — and in the movie business kind of a fortunate one — of preparing the next movie while we finish the first. So everyone had the opportunity to see a rough cut of the first, and see all these young actors who are creating amazing characters, so you could go, “OK, now that that character’s alive and working, what other facets of their character do you want to explore? What else would be exciting and interesting to discover in this new world that we’ve created?” It was actually very fun.
HC: How is working with Robert different than working with Neil?
DW: They’re both very sort of distinct artists. “Divergent” is very much Neil’s take on Veronica’s world, a very distinct and successful take…. “Insurgent” is a much different movie. You have a much more complicated Tris. You have a woman who’s been through a lot of loss, and she’s got to find an angel kind of strength. She’s got to make peace with a world that’s in much more turmoil than the one in “Divergent.”
HC: So what made Robert the right choice to direct “Insurgent”?
DW: A few things. First, we listened to a lot of very talented filmmakers about how they would approach “Insurgent,” and Robert came in with both a really great gut sense of Tris’ emotional journey, and he was really fascinated by her recovery and triumph from post-traumatic stress, and he also has great visual instincts. We were very stimulated by his ideas. One of the most exciting visual possibilities is always the fear landscapes, and he had really extraordinary visual ideas. That’s always been one of Veronica’s great creations, that allows you to sort of play in the world of “Inception.”
HC: In addition to Tris and Jeanine, “Insurgent” introduces the characters of Johanna and Evelyn. Most of the major leaders in the society are women.
LF: Yes, that’s what happens when you have a young, strong, female author.
HC: You’ve mentioned before that you think Veronica has a “golden gut.” What do you mean by that?
DW: What I mean is that when you do an adaptation, you keep going back to the book whenever you’re lost, and what we always find with Veronica is that she’s an incredibly intuitive writer, so usually everything is kind of in the right place at the right time. She kind of almost thinks in archetypes. There’s some work that’s very slick on the surface, but there’s nothing underneath it. So when you have narrative problems and you go back to it as a resource, it doesn’t help you that much. And Lucy and I got to know Veronica anew as we kept going back to “Divergent,” back to “Insurgent” when we were stuck, and we kept finding that her impulses were really solid. The intuitive journey of Tris in “Insurgent” is such a powerful, clear journey of a warrior traumatized by great loss, trying to find their way, and kind of finding power and wholeness. And at the same time, she’s got that unbelievable craft to also make the love story completely part of that journey. As Lucy always says, you get the guy you love by being the best version of yourself.
LF: You’re Cinderella, you get the guy, but you also get him by being brave. But going back to Robert, Veronica talks about this much more eloquently than we could, about the theme of the book being going from being broken to being mended.
For the rest of the article visit LA Times Hero Complex, and be sure to check out the BTS video of the Divergent actors’ Dauntless training!