Divergent author Veronica Roth has had three box-office-breaking feature films and four best-selling books. But, for her next film project, based on her short story “Inertia,” she is imagining something subtler. “Inertia” centers on Claire, a young woman whose best friend, Matt, is left in critical condition after a car accident, but a new technology allows them to say good-bye. Fox 2000 optioned the story, and Roth is now collaborating on the script.
“It feels more contemporary than the other things I have done,” Roth told Vulture after a BookExpo panel at the Javits Center this week. “There is one piece of futuristic technology where you can enter the mind of someone who is dying to say good-bye, but other than that it is just a teenage friendship and love story. To me, seeing a quieter story, with just this touch of sci-fi, would be really beautiful.”
Roth hopes to unpack the themes of mental health and creativity with the film adaptation of “Inertia.” “Talking about mental illness is a huge component of this story because it is about how someone with mental illness creates art,” Roth told Vulture. “Do they require depression to make something or is it better to be treated and to become a healthier person? Does that result in better art?”
Roth has talked openly about her own struggles with anxiety, but says she doesn’t buy into the idea that creative people must suffer to make something interesting. “I think people have this idea of the artist as this depressed and ailing person,” Roth said. “But to me in my life anxiety has been an impediment to my creativity. So this myth of the tortured artist I think is something that we really need to dismantle.”
Roth, tells Vulture that she treats her own anxiety with medication, therapy, and kickboxing. “People find depression makes them more introspective,” Roth said. “But you can get those things without it, and I think it is healthier to find those ways. [Depression] isn’t worth it.”