‘Divergent': Neil Burger on his approach to creating dystopian Chicago

March 22, 2014 | 8:21 a.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 wanted his adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel to feel different from other futuristic cinema in a crucial way.

“We’ve seen other movies set in the future — they’re often dark and cold looking and grim and bleak,” Burger said at a Hero Complex preview screening of “Divergent” March 19 at the AMC Burbank 16 & IMAX theater. “I thought, maybe there’s a different way to go at this… to make the society seem… kind of inviting. It’s much more luminous and the colors are warmer to start with.”

Set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into factions based on their personalities, “Divergent” stars Shailene Woodley as a young woman who doesn’t fit into any one faction.

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

Along with Burger, producer Doug Wick and actor Jai Courtney, who plays Eric, the intimidating leader of the Dauntless faction, appeared at the Hero Complex Q&A.

Burger shot his future Chicago in that city. In designing the world he said he went a step beyond what Roth described in the book and began to think through the mechanics of how the society actually worked.

“What’s going on in all those skyscrapers?” Burger said he asked himself. “Where do they get their power from? The idea was, Chicago’s the windy city, using old skyscrapers as towers to support wind turbines, and that’s where they get their power from.”

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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Comments


One Response to ‘Divergent': Neil Burger on his approach to creating dystopian Chicago

  1. Laer Carroll says:

    Now the film is out, will we be spared the continuing deafening drumbeat of publicity?

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