Divergent, the first book based on the popular young adult franchise by Veronica Roth, opened in theaters last March. While the film version, which starred Shailene Woodley and Theo James, hasn’t quite lived up to the potential of its ilk like Twlight or The Hunger Games, the film has done steadily (earning north of $250 million at the worldwide box office and counting) and is still hanging in on the top ten. The franchise could use a boost, however, and that may have just come in the form of Octavia Spencer. It looks like the Academy Award winning actress (The Help) will join the ensemble for the franchise’s second outing, which should give distributor Summit/Lionsgate a bit of hope for the three remaining sequels.
This marks the latest project for a very busy Spencer. She will appear in two films headed into theaters this summer – the eagerly anticipated art house science fiction film Snowpiercer (which will open the 20th Los Angeles Film Festival) and the James Brown biopic Get On Up, directed by The Help‘s Tate Taylor and co-starring Viola Davis. Spencer will also appear in the comedy Car Dogs opposite Patrick J. Adams (of the TV series Suits) and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Black and White, a drama starring Kevin Costner, and Fathers and Daughters with Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried. The actress most recently appeared on screens in an acclaimed performance in the Sundance winning feature Fruitvale Station.
Spencer is slated to portray Johanna, the leader of the Amity faction in the sequel that hopes to raise the stakes on the distopian gloom and doom established in the first film. Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and James (The In-Betweeners Movie) return as as lovers and fugitives Tris and Four who venture through future Chicago looking for allies. Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment), Jai Courtney (A Good Day to Die Hard) and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet are all set to return as well with director Robert Schwentke (FlightPlan) taking over the directing reins from Neil Burger (The Illusionist.) Insurgent was written by Brian Duffield (Jane Got a Gun) and Oscar-winning scribe Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind.)
Insurgent arrives in theaters on March 20, 2015, and like the two other Summit/Lionsgate franchises before it (Twilight and The Hunger Games) is set to break-up the third installment, Allegiant, into a two-part conclusion slated for release in 2016 and 2017, respectively.