Divergent

Lionsgate will launch production on “Insurgent,” the sequel to Shailene Woodley starrer “Divergent,” in May — two months after the release of the first film.

Production company Red Wagon Entertainment made the disclosure Monday as part of its announcement that it has hired Nicki Cortese as VP of film and TV. She’s served in the same slot at Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road Pictures for the past five years.

Lionsgate announced last week that Goldsman had come on board to work on the script for “Insurgent” after Brian Duffield worked on the initial script. Variety reported in December that “Divergent” director Neil Burger would not helm “Insurgent” and that Lionsgate has yet to tap a new director.

Lionsgate will release”Divergent” on March 21, followed by “Insurgent” on March 20, 2015, and “Allegiant” on March 18, 2016.  The “Divergent” franchise — released via its Summit brand — is viewed as a key to Lionsgate’s strategy to lead in the young-adult genre, following the successes of Summit’s five “Twilight” films and Lionsgate’s first two “Hunger Games” pics.

Summit closed a deal in 2011 to acquire film rights to Veronica Roth’s futuristic novel “Divergent,” with Red Wagon toppers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher attached to produce along with Pouya Shahbazian. Lionsgate acquired Summit in 2012.

“Divergent” also stars Theo James, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller and Kate Winslet. Set in a dystopian Chicago, the story centers on a society divided into five factions, each dedicated to a particular virtue, with all 16-year-olds required to select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.

Cortese will be working closely with Red Wagon creative executive Charlie Morrison. “Nicki arrives with extraordinary creative relationships and she brings the energy and talent to put them all to use,” Wick said.

Fisher added, “We especially appreciate what a magnet she is for newer writers.”

 

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