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Production has begun on the feature adaptation of Veronica Roth's popular young adult dystopian novel Divergent, and up until today, we still didn't know who would be cast in the role of the lead character's mother. As it happens, the part is going to Ashley Judd, who has reportedly nabbed one of the last major roles in Summit-Lionsgate's adaptation, which is due out next March.
Directed by Neil Burger, Divergent stars Sheilene Woodley as Tris, a teen living in what's left of Chicago among a society that's broken up into five factions, which determine a person's way of life. When Tris comes of age, she must choose either to stay in her family's faction or switch to a different one, after which she'll undergo training to find her place among her people. When Kate Winslet was first in talks to join the film, I wondered if she might be playing Tris' mother, however we later learned that the Titanic star was coming on board to play Erudite leader Jeanine.
THR confirmed today that Ashley Judd has been cast in the role of Natalie Prior, Tris' mother. Her character is there when Tris and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) both choose their factions, and she appears later in the story. Without spoiling anything, I will say that if they were going for a recognizable name and face to fill this role, I think Judd's a great pick. I would vaguely describe Natalie as compassionate, selfless and strong, and those are characteristics I can see Judd portraying just fine.
Judd, whose recent credits include the short-lived ABC drama Missing and Antoine Fuqua's Olympus Has Fallen, joins Woodley, Winslet, Maggie Q, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz and Theo James in the film, which is expected to arrive in theaters March 21.