Interview: eats a snack with Theo James on the 'Divergent' set - Part 2

Theo James (Four) has now come back to the cast and crew cafeteria, after having to run off to film, on the 'Divergent' set.  His unsuspecting, half-eaten pear has been touched, photogrpahed, and tweeted.  It's already famous before he gets back.  We warn him, but he eats it anyways.

Read our other Divergent set visit interviews and posts here.

Did Veronica Roth give you any advice in particular?

We met a few times, and we had dinner – Shai and I – with her. We kind of picked her brain. But in terms of anything specific, I think she was kind of… It’s a hard place to give advice, because you need to let the actor kind of breathe in the space, and in a way, the material is there. I don’t think there was any specific advice. It was just more for me to talk about where the ideas came from, how she believes Four changes and develops as a person, what kind of a character she envisioned even before she started writing, and those kinds of questions.

I feel like the book really focuses on what bravery is. What does bravery mean to you?

That’s a good question. That’s what I like – one of the many things I like – about Four. In a way, the downfall of the factions – by the end of the book, it’s almost like a totalitarian state – it’s implosion. Eric, I think, represents, a bit like in an army, where you have the people who believe in, say, a revolution, and then the people who start to change and do it for their own means. Eric represents someone who is out for the power and the glory, whereas Four is actually there because – initially at least; that changes, obviously – he believes in bravery and what that can do for a man. So what does bravery represent? I think bravery is being able to act outside of your own comfort zone and to push your own personal boundaries, whatever faculty that may be in, and to do the things that you’re scared of, really. So bravery is to take on everything that is fear in your own world and to try to conquer it. Also, I like his statement when he says, “No one is fearless.” It’s an impossible concept, which is good. Again, that’s another interesting part of his personality; he’s not this kind of action hero. He believes in the institution, which is kind of an interesting concept. Fear isn’t something that no one has, it’s just something that you learn to have an ability to have some control over, and if you have some control over it then you can act, as best you can, in the face of it.

Do you see yourself in Four? Do you all have any super outstanding similarities or differences?

I think so. The similarities: he thinks before he speaks, and I think I’m probably like that, too. He doesn’t speak for the sake of speaking, which I like in him. He speaks because he feels it’s important or pertinent to whatever quality. I suppose my more kind of closed, introvert, slightly grumpy side I probably share with him in some respects. He’s also quite damaged by – obviously – his childhood, and my dad’s a good guy, so that would be the difference, of many.

How much training did you do to prepare for the stunt work in this movie?

We came about a month before, which was good. The concept was to create a fighting style that looked similar, but it incorporated what was new and what might be vaguely different in the future. So we had to learn this new stance, and for me, it’s a different way of moving, so I had to get some of the boxing out of my system a bit. What was really useful for me is we had all the key extras in and all the guys for two days; they came in like it was the beginning of Initiation. Myself and then the stunt guys like J.J. kind of acted like Dauntless leaders, and they came in, and we’d be like, “Come on.” I’d take them on a run and I’d take them through a kind of fitness regime and I’d take them through their stance, and then Shai would get lippy with me so I’d make her do twenty push ups, even though she didn’t believe that. She was like, “You’re joking, right?” And I was like, “No, fucking do it.”

Were you aware of all the fan fervor surrounding Divergent, especially regarding Four?

Not when I auditioned, no, but since, I have. But I think it’s good, because someone said, you know, “Does it worry you?” or whatever, and I’m just saying I want to do the character justice because I love the character and I love the books and I love him. He’s a great piece of work as a character creation and also he’s a really interesting guy, and he’s also very different from what’s been done, which is one of the main reasons I was drawn to him. But in my mind, I think it’s great that there is this great, loyal fan base already because it means that, I don’t know, there’s a positive energy, and you want to connect with those people. I think it’s a good thing.

Do you have any tattoos?

I have these.

Are these semi-permanent?

I wish, that would be cool. No, these are kind of some of them. The neck one is obviously a big feature with him, but it’s not on at the moment because of the collar. We did that scene the other day, where I show the tattoo, and it’s this beautiful piece of work, actually; it takes about two and a half hours to put on. So when I’ve got the t-shirt, all I have is this peeking out and then this peeking out here. But when we did it last week, it’s kind of this huge tree, but in that kind of very cool kind of Dauntless way, incorporating all the factions.

They mixed the symbols together?

Yeah, the faction symbols kind of come up the spine, and then there’s kind of stuff that arches around the back and onto the shoulders like this. It’s an impressive piece of work. It’s tres sexy. *Laughs* No, I don’t know whether it’s sexy, but it’s very cool.

Have you and Shai and other cast members gotten to hang out when you’re not filming

Yeah, we have; we’ve been lucky. Probably too much. But yes, we have. It’s fun having a group of people that are kind of of a similar age, and you get to know each other very quickly on set, obviously, because you’re kind of in each other’s faces all the time. So yeah, it’s been fun. We’ve been kind of checking out Chicago and going drinking together and stuff.

If you could share one funny thing that happened on set so far, just like a blooper moment, what would you say?

Funny or offensive? That’s an important clarification.

Maybe both.

I’m trying to kind of censor the offensive ones in my head. Well, a bad moment, but also funny – no, I shouldn’t say funny – Shai was doing this great scene where she’s running along on the side of the train and obviously she was putting everything into it, and she… No, that’s not funny; I can’t say that. That’s bad; she’ll like beat me up or something. She’ll be like, “Hey! What the fuck did you say that for?” I think on the first day, we were playing some pranks on each other, so like Miles would try and pull down Christian’s pants and stuff like that. It was kind of a random thing on the first day.

Read more interviews:

Miles Teller, Christian Madsen, and Ben Lloyd-Hughes

Shailene Woodley and Zoe Kravitz

Theo James - Part 1

Ray Stevenson

Our set visit reaction post

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.


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