The sequel to Divergent will be something of an Australian affair, with young Sydneysider Keiynan Lonsdale joining Naomi Watts and Jai Courtney among the cast of the second instalment of the Young Adult (YA) franchise.
Insurgent, which is now shooting in Atlanta, Georgia – home of television’s The Walking Dead – sees most of the cast from the first film returning.
Sydneysider Keiynan Lonsdale, 22, gets his big break in Divergent series. Photo: Gene Ramirez
Shailene Woodley and Theo James once again star as Tris and Four, the rebellious young lovers who refuse to stay in the boxes society has confined them to, with Woodley’s co-star and love interest from the YA tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars, Ansel Elgort, also back on board as her brother Caleb. Kate Winslet reprises her role as Jeanine, leader of the Erudite faction, and Courtney is back as Eric.
It was announced last week that Watts has signed on for all three remaining films in the series, which is based on a trilogy of novels by Veronica Roth (as with The Hunger Games book-to-film adaptations, the final book in the series, Allegiant, will be filmed in two parts).
Newcomer Lonsdale expressed his excitement in a post on his Facebook page on Wednesday morning: "So it's out! I will be playing Uriah in the Divergent series!! If only you could see my face right now, I have a permanent smile haha!"
Divergent stars Theo James and Shailene Woodley.
Uriah did not appear in the first film, though he was in Roth’s first novel. She noted the omission in a blog post a little over a year ago, after visiting the set of the first film, and promised he would be in the second film "if we are fortunate enough to make another one".
"It is understandably disappointing when a favourite character doesn't make it on screen," Roth wrote. "However, what I do think is encouraging is that the people working on the movie are taking the role of Uriah so seriously and taking so much care to get him right."
The casting of Lonsdale represents a significant break for the 22-year-old who has just released his first single on iTunes and whose biggest role to date has been on the ABC-TV series Dance Academy.