‘Divergent’ filmmakers talk finding Tris, Eric’s menacing tattoos

March 22, 2014 | 2:30 p.m.
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Ben Lloyd Hughes, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodley in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)

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Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Ben Lamb, Zoe Kravitz and Jai Courtney in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)

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Shailene Woodley, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn and Ansel Elgort in "Divergent." (Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment)

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Theo James, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller and Ben Lloyd Hughes in "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)

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Shailene Woodley, author Veronica Roth and director Neil Burger on the set of "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)

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Theo James, left, and Shailene Woodley in "Divergent." (Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment)

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Shailene Woodley, left, and Theo James in "Divergent." (Jaap Buitendijk / Summit Entertainment)

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Director Neil Burger, left, Jai Courtney and Theo James on the set of "Divergent." (Summit Entertainment)

“Divergent” director Neil Burger and producer Doug Wick went to great lengths to assemble a dynamic young cast for the film, but the movie’s most important role came easily, according to Wick, after a meeting with actress Shailene Woodley, who had just come off “The Descendants.”

“We were preparing to do a worldwide search,” Wick said at a Hero Complex preview screening of “Divergent” March 19 at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX theater. “She seemed so exactly Tris. The worldwide search quickly went away.”

Based on a novel by Veronica Roth and set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, “Divergent” stars Woodley as a young woman who doesn’t fit into any one faction.

MORE: What Shailene Woodley’s costars had to say about her

Burger, Wick, and Jai Courtney, who plays Eric, the intimidating leader of the Dauntless faction, appeared at the Hero Complex Q&A, where they also discussed creating Eric’s distinctive look, which includes some dramatic tattoos.

“It was a delicate art getting it right,” Courtney said of the process of applying his makeup every day.

The look is not exactly how Roth described Eric in the book, Burger said.

“In the book Eric has long stringy hair and a million piercings,” Burger said. “We tried that and it took away from the presence that Jai had naturally.”

To find out first about upcoming films that will be featured in the Hero Complex Screening Series, follow us on Twitter: @LATherocomplex.

– Rebecca Keegan | @ThatRebecca

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