Megan Ellison in Talks for Rights to Divergent

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.

Megan Ellison in Talks for Rights to Divergent