Robert Schwentke has been chosen to replace Neil Burger as director of "Insurgent," the sequel to the upcoming adaptation of Veronica Roth's "Divergent." The news was first reported late on Tuesday night by Deadline.com, and followed seven minutes later by widely disseminated press release from Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the budding YA franchise.
"We are excited to announce that we have found the perfect director to carry on the story of Tris Prior and the expanded world of 'Insurgent' in Robert Schwentke," Erik Feig, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group’s President of Production, said in a statement. (Lionsgate owns Summit Entertainment, the studio releasing "Insurgent.") "Robert, with whom we have already had a successful relationship, has proven a master storyteller in multiple genres and we can't wait to see what he brings to Veronica Roth's next installment of the 'Divergent' series. As well, we are very happy to welcome Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman to the team as executive producers."
Schwentke previously directed "Red" for Summit Entertainment. The 2010 action thriller grossed $199 million worldwide. He had less success with his follow-up to that film, Universal's "R.I.P.D.," a flop upon its release last July. (Schwentke did not direct the "Red" sequel, which was coincidentally released on the same day as "R.I.P.D.")
"Divergent" stars Shailene Woodley as the aforementioned Tris Prior, and features an all-star cast that includes Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer and Jai Courtney. Summit will release the film on March 21. "Insurgent" is due in theaters on March 20, 2015, and the tight turnaround was given as the reason why Burger did not return for the second installment. A similar situation happened with the "Hunger Games" franchise when original director Gary Ross declined to return to the sequel, "Catching Fire," because of time issues, among other reasons.
According to Summit Entertainment, "Insurgent" is "currently being written by Akiva Goldsman from a draft initially written by Brian Duffield."