"Divergent" author Veronica Roth at Comic-Con 2013 in San Diego, CA. (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)Link
Author Veronica Roth and actors Theo James and Shailene Woodley at the "Divergent" panel during Comic-Con 2013. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)Link
Author Veronica Roth, actors Theo James and Shailene Woodley, and director Neil Burger at Comic-Con 2013. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)Link
"Divergent" author Veronica Roth at Comic-Con 2013 ((Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)Link
Shailene Woodley and Theo James in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)Link
Theo James and Amy Newbold in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)Link
Shailene Woodley in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)Link
Director Neil Burger with actors Jai Courtney and Theo James on the set of "Divergent" (Summit Entertainment)Link
Shailene Woodley in "Divergent" (Summit Entertainment)Link
As part of our Comic-Con coverage this year, Hero Complex reached out to a select group of actors and writers, asking them to document their experiences in San Diego. Next up is Veronica Roth, author of the novel “Divergent,” which is being adapted into a film starring Shailene Woodley and directed by Neil Burger.
Two years ago, a few months after I sold “Divergent” movie rights to Summit Entertainment, I went to Comic-Con for the first time. I was mostly just an observer — I had a short press conference in which I explained my book, I people-watched Harry Potter cosplayers to my heart’s content, and that was about it. This year, however, with the “Divergent” movie being released on March 21, 2014, I embarked on a day packed with interviews, a press conference, a panel and a party in the midst of this fantastic nerd wonderland known as San Diego Comic-Con.
7 a.m. The nerves hit me in my sleep. For someone who spends most of her time in front of a computer screen, alone, the idea of speaking in front of 6,500 people in Hall H on a “Divergent” movie panel is … a little bit daunting, to say the least. I can’t go back to sleep. I hate my brain.
9 a.m. I am hungry but too nervous to eat. I still hate my brain.
9:30 a.m. In an attempt to physically prepare me for a day of being on camera, a makeup artist attaches false eyelashes to my eyelids.
9:45 a.m. I meet Neil Burger, Shailene Woodley and Theo James for a photo shoot and interview with Entertainment Weekly. During the interview, Theo jokes about his next project being art-house porn. He comes up with an entire plot on the spot, and I can’t stop laughing, which is an effective antidote to my nerves.
10:15-11 a.m. I don’t have the right words for listening to really talented people talk about my book in such a thoughtful way. Surreal? Flattering? Amazing? Spoiler alert: I will say the word “amazing” at least 100 times today.
11:15 a.m. Neil Burger is the best interview buddy ever.
1:30 p.m. Time for my first press line. I’m still seeing camera flashes from the photo portion of the extravaganza when I reach my first interviewer. I bounce from person to person, and I get into a groove. My answers get better as I go. It helps that when people ask me if I’m happy with the movie and its cast, I don’t have to lie. Yes, I’m happy. Yes, this extremely wide smile is sincere. Yes, this is freaking amazing.
3 p.m. During nerd trivia in a live MTV interview, I make my first successful wookie sound. Victory!
3:50 p.m. The panel is about to start. I stand backstage waiting for my name to be called, bouncing up and down like I’m at a boxing match.
3:51 p.m. There are so many people in here.
3:52 p.m. No, really. There are SO MANY PEOPLE IN HERE.
3:54 p.m. I get to announce that “Allegiant” (Oct. 22) is written in two points of view to the Comic-Con crowd. As I get closer and closer to the book’s release, I am shedding all my secrets one by one. Just a few left!
3:57ish p.m. The footage from the “Divergent” movie plays, and I can feel my heartbeat in my face. These moments account for at least 50 of the 100 uses of the word “amazing” today, because I am saying that word in my head over and over again as I watch.
4:30 p.m. I’m signing posters with the others in a room upstairs. My brain is still on another planet, but this is something I’m used to: meeting the readers (or in this case, a blend of readers and moviegoers). Someone asks me to write a particular quote from the book (“You look good, Tris”) on their poster, and it is the best.
7 p.m. STEAK. I try not to use it as a pillow. I am mostly successful.
8:30 p.m. I say “screw it,” and remove my fake eyelashes. I put on a dress. Time to get fancy.
8:50 p.m. I walk the press line on the red carpet. I am swimming in camera flashes and running on adrenaline.
10 p.m. Impromptu “Divergent” cast dance-off at the Summit Entertainment party. I don’t dance, but I also don’t walk red carpets, or do on-camera interviews, or speak in front of 6,500 people. Today is a day full of impossible things, so I give up on looking cool and mouth all the words to a Macklemore song as I get funky.
— Veronica Roth
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