Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.
Courtney Howard // Film Critic
Much has already been written of the striking similarities between most of the YA distopian-set adaptations out there. However, nothing feels more viscerally charged than it does when watching THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT during a political season filled with such upheaval. This chapter of Tris’ (Shailene Woodley) saga has her and her squad escaping beyond the electrified walls of Chicago, settling into a brave new futuristic world led by David (Jeff Daniels), a chief at the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. Ties that bind this fictional world to our real world dramas quickly emerge.
“It’s not walls and divisions are a new idea, right? And the idea of whether it was in Berlin or wherever, of dividing divisions, in Veronica’s book, the conclusion is that the only way society survives is for the walls to come down. It’s only the community that makes it survive. The divisions are dangerous, separate us and bring us pain. That’s so clear in the DNA of her story. I guess those walls aren’t going away. There’s always someone new trying to put up new ones.”
As for splitting Veronica Roth’s third book into two movies, that conversation grew out of wanting to make sure all the information could be cinematically translated. Wick said,
“Allegiant has a lot of story in it. It had two climaxes – one is a climax in Chicago and the second climax is Tris facing off with David and the Bureau. We felt two things; that it should be a stand alone movie and that we didn’t want to shoot them both at one time because it’s so hard to make one movie that works. It felt like we had plenty on story to do one and plenty of story to tell for the final collision.”
Looking back on the three films, Fisher and Wick remembered that putting the ensemble together was their greatest accomplishment. Wick said,
“It was a bunch of young people at dinner and you were very aware that all of them were going to have explosive careers. Miles was so tee’d up. Ansel was so unusually gifted. The first movie was putting that ensemble together. For the second movie, Lucy went after Kate Winslet, which completely created an amazing ensemble for the next generation – to see how someone behaved who was both an indie star and box office star. Robert Schwentke loved her so much, he originally pitched, ‘What if we start the movie and she was just injured?!’
“And Kate loved being in the movies so much because she was the queen bee of the set and everybody wanted advice. Kate liked it so much, she wanted to come back. Her agent kept telling us [her availability] and we would say, ‘It was good to know her plans and we wish she could be in it, but she got shot.’”
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT opens on March 18.
Feature photo: From left to right: Christina (Zöe Kravitz), Tris (Shailene Woodley), Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller) and Tori (Maggie Q) in THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT. Courtesy of Lionsgate.