The actor has been in all three previous films and said that he barely got a heads up before Variety broke the news. The series was originally seen as a successor to “The Hunger Games,” but the third installment, “Allegiant,” stumbled at the box office when it hit theaters last spring.
Teller said he wasn’t sure if he’d participate in the television finale.
“I’ve talked to nobody,” Teller said. “I found out 20 minutes before Variety printed it.”
Teller’s comments mirror those of Shailene Woodley, who told press at Comic-Con last month that she hadn’t decided whether or not she would participate in the final film and that she’d been caught off guard by the news.
Lionsgate, the studio behind the futuristic series, originally planned to start shooting the fourth and final film, “Ascendant,” this summer. It was slated to debut in June 2017. However, the failure of “Allegiant” caused the company to scrap those plans. The studio now wants the “Divergent” finale to lead into a spinoff television series with new characters and storylines. Teller seems disappointed by the changes.
“When we all signed on for the first one we had every intention of finishing it theatrically,” he said. “We signed on for x amount of movies and you take that all into consideration. We wanted to see that storyline finish. You know, it’s moving into a different format. So who knows?”
“We all really enjoyed that time we spent together and those characters,” he added.
He may be bummed about the future of the “Divergent” series, but Teller is happy with how “War Dogs” turned out. The film pairs him with Jonah Hill as stoners who fall into a lucrative contract to supply weapons for U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The true story is directed by Todd Phillips (“The Hangover”) and hits theaters on Aug. 19. The film was originally set up with Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf playing the leads. Teller got interested in the project after his father read the article in Rolling Stone that inspired the movie and decided to lobby for the part.
“I saw Todd a year later in a restaurant and I said, ‘Todd my dad said you’ve got to put me in your movie,'” Teller said. “‘I just read the article and I think I’m your guy.'”
Hill didn’t have any parental pressure to join the film. He said he was attracted to Phillips’ work ethic.
“Todd offered me the movie a bunch of times and he kept doing work on the script after each time,” Hill said. “It got deeper, more interesting, and less about obvious things that were exciting about it and more about who these guys were. He worked so hard that I wanted to work with someone who was that passionate about what they wanted to do.”
For Phillips, best known for outrageous comedies, “War Dogs” represents a departure. It has funny moments, but it also deals with political issues and has a somber undercurrent. At a time when studios are primarily in the franchise business, “War Dogs” also represents a risk. Its protagonists are deeply flawed and there’s no superheroes in sight. Getting a greenlight from Warner Bros. required calling in some chits.
“We did three ‘Hangover’ movies and ‘Due Date,’ and I think together they did like $1.7 billion,” Phillips said. “I’ve learned that when you earn that kind of good will from a movie studio, you have to use it quickly because it’s perishable. I don’t think I could have brought this movie to any other studio, but the fact that I made [Warner Bros.] four hit movies in a row in the span of five years, garnered me enough goodwill.”
The director said he hopes the movie finds its audience so studios will be more willing to tackle pics that aren’t sequels or based on towlines.
“Hopefully it works,” he said. “Not just for me, but for films like this to get made, so it’s not all superhero, DC, and Marvel movies. Everybody claims they want new things. They want new stories. Then you put something out, like ‘Nice Guys,’ [a Russell Crowe action comedy], which I thought was wonderfully done. Not a sequel. Not a superhero movie. And it’s like nobody shows up and you’re like what the f— is going on?”