Theo James joins Shailene Woodley in YA adaptation ‘Divergent’

Summit Entertainment has found the male lead for their latest foray into a young adult film franchise.

Theo James (“Bedlam,” “Golden Boy”) will star in the anticipated YA adaptation “Divergent,” opposite Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”).

The futuristic action adventure, based on author Veronica Roth”s YA best seller, will be directed by Neil Burger (“Limitless”) from a script by Vanessa Taylor.

Other names who have been linked to the project include Oscar-winner Kate Winslet, Aaron Eckhart, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Elgort and “La Femme Nikita” star Maggie Q, although none have yet been officially confirmed.

“Divergent” takes place in the future where the population is forcibly split up according to their personalities. Tris Prior (Woodley) is labeled “Divergent” and finds herself as one of the victims of a conspiracy to eliminate all Divergents. James will play Four, Tris”s instructor who helps lead a rebel group known as Dauntless.

Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher will produce via their Red Wagon Entertainment banner along with Pouya Shahbazian. Red Wagon”s Rachel Shane will executive produce. The film begins shooting next month in Chicago.

Summit is aiming to release the film in March of 2014, hoping to re-capture the box office spark they experienced with “The Hunger Games” in that slot in 2012.

“Theo is not only an incredibly talented actor, he is also who we envisioned as Four when reading Veronica”s novel which has taken the world by storm,” Lionsgate co-chairmen Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger said in a release.  “As we continue to develop the film, the studio remains committed to providing fans with a movie adaptation that stays as true to the book as possible and we are confident that we have done so with our selection of Shailene and Theo in the leading roles.”
“We took our time to find the right actor to fill the role of Four, and Theo is definitely the perfect fit,” added Lionsgate’s Erik Feig.  “Veronica has crafted a truly iconic character in Four and we cannot wait to begin production and bring him and this story to life for millions of fans around the world.”

James is probably best known for his role on the British series “Bedlam,” although he was also seen in one early episode of “Downton.” He’s currently the star of the new CBS drama “Golden Boy.” On the big screen he has appeared in “Underworld: Awakening” and in Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.”

“Divergent” will be released March 21, 2014.