Last week, Vulture was first to bring you the news that billionairess Meg Ellison was getting ready to write the checks on two new PT Anderson movies; now we hear she’s struck again. In her checkbook’s cross-hairs this time is the forthcoming HarperCollins young-adult book series Divergent, from fellow twentysomething Veronica Roth, who like Ellison is quite the precocious talent: While still studying at Northwestern University last year, Roth wrote her first novel, signed with an agent, and landed a three-book deal.
It’s easy to see why: Nonthreatening Christian underpinnings? Got
'em. Young, unlikely female author? Yep. Chaste teen-girl romance? Wish fulfillment? Right here, baby!
Since Divergent won’t hit bookstores until May, we’ll just give you the thumbnail sketch: Set in a dystopic world whereupon reaching the age of 16 every person must choose a virtue — honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, or intelligence — to pursue to the exclusion of all others, Divergent follows a young girl named Beatrice who decides to buck the system and create a new identity for herself, with risky consequences.
We hear that Ellison is negotiating to acquire the feature rights to Roth’s book series for Sony-based producers Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher, who’ve produced movies like Gladiator, Stuart Little, and Memoirs of a Geisha. It’s not clear whether Wick and Fisher plan to develop the movie at Sony’s Columbia Pictures (where Wick has long been based and where Fisher was once a vice-chairman) or take it elsewhere: We hear that Summit Entertainment — home to the Twilight series — is keenly interested in the project, which makes sense, as Twilight draws to a close.