‘Divergent’, the live action adaptation of Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA novel will arrive in theaters on March 21st, 2014.  (‘Divergent’ is the first of three books, followed by ‘Insurgent’ and ‘Allegiant’.)

In  the world of ‘Divergent‘, society is divided up into five factions: Abnegation (the Selfless), Dauntless (the Brave), Candor (the Honest), Amity (the Peaceful), and Erudite (the Intelligent).  But lead character Tris comes to discover that she can align with every faction because she is “divergent’… which immediately puts her life in jeopardy.  “What makes you different, makes you dangerous” the trailer warns.

Collider’s Adam Chitwood made a visit to the set and compiled a series of things you should know before watching the movie.  Here are a few highlights.

Our first destination on the set visit was the Abnegation faction.  More specifically, we visited a block of about a dozen Abnegation homes that were under construction on a patch of land just below the Sears Tower.  As it is in the book, the people of Abnegation can see the remnants of the Sears Tower (now called “The Hub”) from their faction, so it was important to Burger and production designer Andy Nicholson to find a location for the set that was in view of the historic building.

In keeping with the selfless lifestyle of the Abnegation, the exterior sets were incredibly plain, with an off-white concrete exterior, plain windows, and the barest of necessities including a small overhang above the door to shield tenants from rain, as well as standard rainwater catchers on the side of each house that serve as a convenient, simple source of replenishment.  While very ordinary looking, the houses also had a bit of a modern feel to them.  The simplicity of the structure and heavy use of linear features brought to mind many works of modern art.

Chitwood then visited CineScope studios where he looked at concept art for the film:

I was instantly struck by the fact that Burger and his team were incorporating the existing city of Chicago very heavily into the design of the film.  Many of the pic’s locations, including the high school and the Erudite headquarters, were going to be portrayed by existing buildings in Chicago.

The production designer later told us that when approaching the film from a design standpoint, they imagined that society had continued on from the present for about 50 years, and then the unexplained natural disaster occurred that stopped progress in its tracks.  In contrast to the dilapidated or rural landscape of recent dystopian films like ‘The Hunger Games’, the design for ‘Divergent’ is incredibly urban.

You can read more about the set visit at Collider, including a visit to The Pit set and the filming of a party scene as well as a “30 Things You Need To Know Before Seeing This Movie” list.

I find it interesting, but not surprising, that they are making a conscious effort to differentiate this film from ‘The Hunger Games’.  While there are certain similarities between the two stories, they really are different books, so I’m anxious to see how all this plays out on screen.

Are you a fan?  Are you looking forward to this movie?

‘Divergent’ opens on March 21st, 2014.