Interview: eats a snack with Theo James on the 'Divergent' set - Part 1


One day back in May 2013, I sat in a soundstage with a bunch of other journalists and waited for Four Theo James.  When he appeared in the "lunchroom" for the cast and crew; I admit I was a little giddy.  He's even more electrifying in person.  A beacon of funny sayings, beautiful deep accented speech, and was in full dauntless costume.  I was sitting one person away and remember trying to get my mouth to work correctly during the interview.  It was FOUR.  He was real.  


This was our second day of interviewing the "Divergent' cast and we were getting ready to head to O'Hare to go home after interviewing in the morning.  See our other posts about our set visit here.  Theo was our icing on the dauntless cake!



Here is PART 1 of our conversation with him:



What have you been filming recently?
We just did the scene – it’s a brief scene – but Four gives them a little pep talk after Christina’s been hung over the side of the chasm, you know, when Eric tests her and stuff. He isn’t there for it, but he kind of justifies why they’re there. I think with Four, he, in many ways – especially with the movie, because you have less of a chance for exposition – he in a way is the… Not exactly the moral voice, but, you know, he believes in the ideals of Dauntless in a way, or at least he believes in the ideals of the factions, and he believes in conquering fear and those kinds of things. So, in a way, he is the voice of that sometimes – kind of what’s behind the concept. Neil said, when we started doing it, he said one thing is really important – and I didn’t think about this, but when he said it, I think it is really important – that at the beginning of the movie, you need to set up a world that is functional in a way that you believe it exists for a reason, whatever happened before, you know the war or whatever. But you believe that it functions and it is a viable alternative, rather than a place where people might go, “What the fuck? Why would you join this faction only to be treated like shit?” There needs to be a higher ideal. Otherwise, then, you know, what are they doing; why are they there? So yeah, we just did that scene, so we’re on the train and we’re going to the fence to check out the perimeter.


I hear you’re into martial arts. Are you bringing any of your own moves to [Theo's fight]?
That sounds quite sexy – my own moves. Well, my background is actually boxing: I did that at college, so ever since, really… So, yes, in terms of… I mean, J.J. and Garrett, they’re great, and what we’ve been doing. What I like with him – what they’ve developed, and kind of what we developed together – is he’s very efficient, so it’s kind of a mix. It’s a kind of new style of fighting, but with him particularly, it’s quite aggressive, so it’s a bit of kind of Bourne/some Muay Thai with elbows. He’s not doing flourishy, crazy kicks; he’s efficient. There’s a great move at one point where someone goes to punch me in the head and I use my head to deflect his hand, if that makes sense. It kind of reflects that he’s efficient and aggressive, because if someone punches you in the head and you headbutt them back, then they’re like, “Whoa. I don’t want to fuck with this guy.” I do that regularly as well, when I’m on night outs, but, you know, I kiss people’s fists. So yeah, that’s his kind of style.


Did you read the short story “Free Four”, and if so, did you use it?
No, I didn’t. The reason was, I suppose, I read the first two books, and then I stopped myself from reading anything else, because I thought – especially in the first movie – I wanted the information to be able to flesh out him and to be there and in the moment and have everything going through osmosis in his story and his history and his background and all the demons that he has and the secrets that he’s keeping. I didn’t want to be too influenced by too much other material, because obviously I want to have my own take and bring my own things to the table. So I kind of made an active choice not to, but after this one is done, I probably will check them out – the Four stories – because they could be useful. I wrote one myself, actually: it’s called “Four Enters the Dragon.”


Can you tell us what would be in your fear landscape?
That’s a good question. Awkward sex. No, uh, my fear landscape would be… What would be yours?


Mine? Failure and falling.
Yeah, that’s a good one. You’re Two, yeah. She’s so formidable.
There’s more. They’d come out in the landscape.
Yeah, they’re just really weird ones, right? Um, what would mine be? I don’t have any fears. No, I’m kidding. I think mine would be a mixture of, I suppose… I don’t mind jumping off stuff so much, but climbing up, so maybe… I used to have this reoccurring dream where I was constantly climbing a set of vertical stairs, and I think that’s from when I was a kid. I think I fell back off some stairs and like fucked up my head. So that would be one. Bananas would be another; I hate bananas. What else? Losing, you know, death of family. Maybe drowning. Oh, getting torn apart by a great white shark; that’d probably be in there.


What faction would you choose?
I actually believe, in the same way to Four, I think that all of them, because I think that it’s impossible to be genuine. You were looking for something sexier? I would be, just Dauntless, yeah.


UPDATE:  Read Part 2 of this interview.

These interviews were conducted with other journalists in attendance.


You can buy Divergent movie tickets NOW to be entered into a contest for a walk-on role in Insurgent!

Moviegoers who purchase advance tickets before March 21st on will have the opportunity to be entered in to a sweepstakes for the chance to win a walk-on role in the film’s sequel INSURGENT. 

Read the official Summit Entertainment press release for more details

About Divergent

DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it's too late. Based on the best-selling book series by Veronica Roth.


Views: 4013

Comment by Basmah Ahmad on March 13, 2014 at 12:18pm

hahaha, imagine four in the movie being chased by a guy holding a banana in his fear landscape xD haha

Comment by Diverse7 on March 13, 2014 at 3:39pm
Comment by Layla Jane Charlie on March 13, 2014 at 3:44pm


Comment by Nilla K on March 13, 2014 at 4:02pm

Haha loved reading this, and cannot wait to see Ansel's :3

Comment by Tris Four on April 19, 2014 at 11:09pm

Lol. He is literally sooooooo hilarious.


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