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'Divergent' author:'It's been surreal' (w/video)

  • Shailene Woodley, author Veronica Roth, and director Neil Burger on the set of the film, "Divergent." The movie releases on Friday, March 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Jaap Buitendijk)

BEVERLY HILLS — "Divergent," the latest young adult novel poised to become a blockbuster movie, meets all the criteria for the YA genre: The movie is adapted from a best-seller; the story is rooted in sci-fi; and the cast consists of hot, young stars-to-be. But unlike the "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" series, this one was actually written by someone under 30.

In 2011, writer Veronica Roth was just 22 years old when her book hit shelves. Based on a future dystopian society where people are segregated by their values, her debut landed on the New York Times children's best-seller list, where it remained for 11 weeks. She followed it up with the sequel "Insurgent" and completed her trilogy with "Allegiant." Her books have sold over 11 million copies.

Summit Entertainment, the same studio behind the "Twilight" franchise, acquired the film rights before the first copy of "Divergent" was sold. "It's been surreal," Roth said during a recent interview. "When I found out Summit wanted to make a movie, I was like, 'They want to do what?' I was really nervous, but I was relieved when it started doing well. That they were interested was really encouraging."

Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Kate Winslet, the film opens Friday.

During an interview with The Associated Press, Roth talked about letting the studio take her book and run with it, the inevitable comparisons with "The Hunger Games" and how she's grown as a writer:

AP: The first time you saw the film adaptation of "Divergent," did it look the way you'd envisioned it?

Roth: Not until I saw the shot of the Sears Tower (now Chicago's Willis Tower) and the characters going into the choosing ceremony did I really go, 'Oh that's really it.' I got really emotional. And I was happy because I didn't want any sleek or super polished future and it does look kind of destroyed. You can't micromanage the movie adaptation of your book. First of all, they won't let you. Second of all, I didn't want to.

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