Casting Call [2] – Divergent


Welcome to the very first ever edition of Casting Call, hosted by Tee @ YA Crush, Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks, Candice @ The Grown-Up YA, Dixie & Maggie @ Gone Pecan, and of course, me too! Each Friday we’ll take a couple of characters from our favorite books and discuss who we’d think would be perfect for the roles! And of course this gives us the opportunity as well to rehash our favorite parts of the story and swoon over all those dream literary crushes of ours.

This week, we’re casting for Divergent by Veronica Roth! If you haven’t read the book or want to catch up on what it was about, here’s a quick summary from Goodreads and a link to my original review:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her..

My original review: Divergent (posted 9/6/12)

This week, I will be casting Christina (Tris’s friend, formerly Erudite), Mrs. Prior (Tris’s mom), and the Erudite leader Jeanine Matthews. Here are my choices:

Jeanine Matthews: Okay, for Jeanine Matthews, I chose Eva Green. I more pictured her as a brunette with medium length hair (her hair’s a little bit more red in this picture but she’s usually a brunette) and add glasses, but I also chose her for her gray eyes (as described in the book and better seen in this picture) and well, because she scares me. My boyfriend and I saw Dark Shadows which is mostly a dark comedy (think Beetlejuice-ish if you haven’t seen it) and yeah, Eva Green scared me a lot in that movie. She’d be a great personality fit for Jeanine Matthews as well!

Mrs. Natalie Prior (Beatrice’s mom): When I read Divergent, I immediately pictured someone thin, blonde, shorter hair, but since she was Abegnation, someone who didn’t really stand out as much, quieter personality, etc. Then once I got further in the book, I realized we needed a tougher Mrs. Prior than I thought. I underestimated her. I needed strong and quiet and brave and smart all at the same time. Hence Kelly Rutherford as my choice. I think she’d be a great match to play Beatrice’s mom. Although I’ve only ever seen her in Gossip Girl as a tough mom of a couple of brats (okay, even if you like the show, you know it’s true), I’d really like to see her tackle a dystopian role and see how she’d fare in that!

Christina (Tris’s friend, former Candor): So there was an interesting topic of discussion raised when I said I wanted to cast Christina this week for Casting Call – I threw out the ideas that I had of how I pictured Christina in my mind. In the book she’s described with dark skin and short black hair. I don’t know if it was a result of my reading too quickly or just a difference of opinion, but I had always picture Christina looking (almost exactly) like Josie Loren except with really curly hair (for some reason – I’m not sure where I got the curly hair from – Was that even mentioned???). As we were talking about it some more (and I looked at a couple discussions online because I wondered if anyone else had pictured her the way I had), it sounds like people were split. A lot of readers pictured Christina with darkER skin (which I guess is the same page I was on – the way I read it, I pictured it just darker than mine: something along the lines of what someone might describe as latina or the Italian/Greek olive skin tone) and in the end I think I realized it’s really about the reader’s perspective a lot of the time! The other half perceived “dark” (possibly as it was intended) as African-American and I was surprised simply because I just had a different image in my mind. Looking back on a few specific quotes, it sounds like this might have been how Roth intended us to picture Christina, but at the same time, I was glad people were picturing the same thing as me.
Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks brought up an excellent point which I wanted to share as well: Since I felt embarrassed when my picture of Christina seemed “wrong”, she brought up the controversy that swam around the web when Thresh and Rue were cast in The Hunger Games and about how a lot of people didn’t picture them as African-American and also when many of Bella’s friends were cast as different ethnicities in Twilight vs the descriptions in the books (also pointed out by Sandie).
So as embarrassed as I was that my image seemed so off, apparently it might not have been after all! So for this, I open up the discussion forums – I’m really interested to hear what you guys think! How did you picture Christina? Were there any other times this happened to you (maybe with THG as well)? I really want to hear other people’s feedback!  


Do you agree with my choices? Who would you have put in these roles? And as for every week, be sure to check out everyone else’s choices! Catch who they picked and show them some comment love too!

Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks (Four and Uriah)
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA (Will and Eric)
Tee @ YA Crush (Tris and Mr. Prior)
Dixie @ Gone Pecan (Caleb and Peter)

And don’t miss us next Friday when we cast The Fault in Our Stars by John Green!

*Disclaimer: In our development of this feature, we discovered that the book blog Lit Snit featured “Casting Call Fridays” back in 2010. Our Casting Call feature is in no way purposefully copying or stealing this idea and any similarities in  format, casting choices, etc are purely coincidental.

19 thoughts on “Casting Call [2] – Divergent

  1. Gone Pecan

    i don’t have an issue with your christina, it’s your perception of what you read. although I agree that in Hunger Games, it was obvious that Rue and Thresh were african-american, and the people who had issues with that were complete bigots & tools, Christina was less obvious. it’s just like when I pictured Caleb & Peter as blonds, they were described differently in the book. anyway, great pics. i really like Kelly Rutherford. She can do quiet and intense really well. good call. ~dixie

  2. Candice

    Truthfully, I don’t remember what I pictured Christina as looking like. I’ve always thought that unless race or ethnic group plays a specific part in the plot, it doesn’t really matter what the person cast in the role looks like. When I was in high school we went to see a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Oberon was played by a black actor. And it had absolutely no impact on the play. He was fantastic and brought that role to life. We went back a few months later to see Guys and Dolls and that same actor was cast in the lead. Didn’t impact the character at all. My point is, you hit the nail on the head with that while our perception of a character is different, but what really matters is whether or not the actor who portrays that character is able to bring him or her to life. So yeah, Josie Loren is a great choice I think!

    Also, great picks for Mrs. Prior and Jeannine! Eva Green could totally pull off the scary Erudite leader!

  3. Elizabeth

    I pictured Christina as African-American, but like you said “dark skin” isn’t all that specific… so I figure go where your imagination takes you!

    I also took one look at the actress you chose to play Tris’s mom and was like… YES! EXACTLY! Mrs. Prior! Prim, proper, and unassuming with a slight edge to her!

  4. Sandie @TeenLitRocks

    I’m emailing you my thoughts, because they are way too long for me to share here!! I do love your picks — especially if Eva were to wear her hair in a severe haircut and downplayed her dazzling beauty. Kelly Rutherford has done a great job of nailing the hot mom roles in movies/shows. She definitely fits the part.

  5. Tee

    I think you’ve done a fabulous job on casting. Like Candice, I don’t remember a physical description of Christina, but I like your choice. I think such details really only matter if somehow their looks are integral to the story. I realize not everyone feels that way, but especially for the purposes of awesome posts like this, it’s a matter of how you personally picture things. Also, can I just say that your Mrs. Prior and my Mr. Prior would have themselves some majorly cute babies? We are SO hired to cat this movie. 🙂

  6. akamaireader

    Did you read Insurgent yet? I’m just asking because of your choice for Natalie Prior.

    I just realized. I would SUCK at Casting Call. I don’t watch movies. I’m a baseball nut so I’d be stuck casting baseball players in all the guy roles. Ha!

    1. Brittany

      Hahah I totally understand! I actually don’t know that many teen actors either so casting for YA gets a bit tricky.
      I have NOT read Insurgent yet which I really really need to so shhhh no spoilers!!! I’m interested now to see if it’d change my opinion of who I cast…
      ooh now I’m excited !

  7. Addie R.

    I personally pictured Christina as an African American, but I can definitely see the actress you chose as a great Christina too! And the picks for Tris’s mom and Jeannine are like dead on perfect! They’re pretty much exactly what I and in mind! xD

  8. Emily

    I always imagined Christina as tall, skinny (kinda gangly), African American with medium brown skin, and short, super curly hair like you said 😉 Sort of like a Savannah Jayde with a pointier chin and more angular face. I thought your Jeanine was spot-on when I googled her and saw pictures where she wasn’t as mind-blowingly pretty as in the picture you chose 😛 But your Mrs. Prior is absolutely PERFECT! I thought I was looking at the physical manifestation of her from the way she existed in my head when I read your choice 😀

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