It's a big day for Octavia Spencer. Not only is she among the stars of one of the new dramas on Fox's recently announced 2014-2015 lineup (Red Band Society), Spencer is also joining the anticipated Divergent sequel, Insurgent. The casting news was announced today, as Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer will play Amity leader Johanna.
Octavia Spencer joins returning stars Shailene Woodley and Theo James in this anticipated sequel. By book comparisons, Spencer's character is presumably Johanna Reyes, who's a representative of Amity and who's introduced in Insurgent, the follow-up novel to Veronica Roth's popular book, Divergent. While much of the first story focuses on Tris Prior's training for the Dauntless faction, we also get a peek inside the Erudite faction, as well as Abnegation, but Candid and Amity are only referenced. The second book gives us a look inside Amity, as the story ventures further into the dystopian Chicago backdrop that serves as the setting for this young adult series.
And that's about as vague as I can be about the premise for Insurgent without spoiling the end of Divergent, so if you still haven't seen the movie or read the first book in Roth's trilogy, consider yourself spoiler-warned from this point forward! No major Insurgent spoilers ahead.
It's not a spoiler to note that the Amity faction is known for its friendliness. We get a better understanding of how this particular faction operates in the followup to Divergent, as Tris and Four are fugitives on the run at the start of Insurgent. Kate Winslet's Jeanine Matthews is leading the hunt to track them down. Known for being trusting and peaceful, Amity seems like it would be a good place for Tris and Four to hide, but factor in the faction's determination for neutrality and things get a bit more complicated.
Octavia Spencer is an interesting choice for the role of Johanna. If they're aiming for talent, they certainly hit the mark. Spencer won an Oscar for Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role for her memorable performance in The Help. She's had no shortage of work since then, with roles in Fruitvale Station and a voice part in Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters among her recent credits. As mentioned, she's also set to star in Fox's new drama Red Band Society. Her IMDB page lists a number of other projects in various stages of production, so we should expect to see plenty of Spencer in the near future.
Directed by Neil Burger, Divergent's worldwide box office total has surpassed $252 million. Robert Schwentke will direct Insurgent, which is already set to release March 20, 2015. And then Summit has Allegiant lined up for two parts, to release in 2016 and 2017.