Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate found themselves a pretty major hit earlier this year with the Shailene Woodley-led dystopian YA adaptation Divergent, based on the bestseller by Veronica Roth. Despite mixed reviews, the highly anticipated film grossed over $267 million worldwide and quickly received the green-light for three follow-ups: an adaptation of Roth’s second book Insurgent and a two-part adaptation of Allegiant, the third and final book in the series. Now, the cast is coming together for all three films, and Oscar nominee Naomi Watts has boarded the franchise for a pivotal supporting role.
Watts is set to play Evelyn, the leader of the Factionless. In the dystopian future of Divergent, people are divided between factions based on their personalities. Protagonist Tris Prior’s (Woodley) troubles begin when she’s declared to be Divergent – aka, she doesn’t fit neatly into any one faction. Soon, Tris uncovers a plot to eliminate those like her and finds herself at the center of a revolution. The Factionless do not agree with the faction system and stand against it throughout the series. In addition to serving as the group’s leader, Evelyn is the mother of Four (Theo James), Tris’s love interest.
The actress will head to Atlanta immediately to work on Insurgent, which is already rolling cameras. Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) is directing this time around, replacing Divergent director Neil Burger. However, Burger will serve as an executive producer – he cited the quick turn-around time on Insurgent as a reason he didn’t want to return in a directorial capacity.
Ansel Elgort, Kate Winslet and Miles Teller are all returning for the sequel, along with stars Woodley and James. In addition to Watts, Insurgent recently gained Octavia Spencer in an important supporting role. Brian Duffield and Akiva Goldsman penned the script for Insurgent, which Summit and Lionsgate plan to release on March 20th, 2015. Allegiant – Part 1 is scheduled for March 18th, 2016 and Allegiant – Part 2 is scheduled for March 24th, 2017.