Akiva Goldsmith
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Production expected to start in spring

Akiva Goldsman has come on board to work on the script for Lionsgate’s “Insurgent,” the sequel to its upcoming “Divergent.”

Brian Duffield worked on the initial script for “Insurgent,” set to open March 20, 2015.

Variety reported last month that “Divergent” director Neil Burger will not helm “Insurgent” and no director has been hired yet. Burger is currently in post-production for “Divergent,” starring Shailene Woodley, for a March 21 release.

The March 2015, release date requires that production start this spring. Lionsgate also will release the third film, “Allegiant,” a year later 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. Summit’s five “Twilight” films have topped $3.3 billion in worldwide grosses and Lionsgate’s first two “Hunger Games” have pulled in over $1.4 billion.

In February 2011, Summit closed a deal to acquire film rights to Veronica Roth’s futuristic novel “Divergent” with Red Wagon toppers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher attached to produce along with Pouya Shahbazian. Lionsgate then bought Summit in early 2012 and signed “Limitless” helmer Burger to direct several months later.

“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 — Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Erudite — with all 16-year-olds required on a particular day to select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.

The life of the female protagonist Beatrice Prior (Woodley) changes dramatically when she switches factions.

“Divergent” was published in 2011, followed by “Insurgent” in 2012 and “Allegiant” in October.

Goldsman’s writing credtits include “A Beautiful Mind,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Cinderella Man,” “I, Robot” and “Angels & Demons.” He produced, wrote and directed the upcoming mythic romance “Winter’s Tale,” starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly and Russell Crowe.

Goldsman is repped by CAA.

The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.

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