Peaceful Amity: Launching into the Action
The film starts with a palette of earth tones including saffrons, yellows,
khakis, ochres, siennas, browns and maroons. "Much of the action in Divergent
took place in darker places, like the Dauntless Pit," comments Wick. "We were so
happy that Veronica started the book in this bright, rustic Amity, so we could
open the film with sunshine and beauty in the middle of Tris' nightmare. That
contrast was great. Part of the way to build on the original film was to show
lighter parts of the world."
Octavia Spencer, whose character Johanna plays the leader of Amity who grants
the heroes refuge inside the faction's peaceful farm, says, "The scope of Amity
is epic-one of my favorite sets that I've ever been on, with a massive green
meadow and beautiful farmlands. We have this gorgeous geo-dome, built around
this majestic tree. Amity is very different from what you see in the other
factions. Our colors are bright, earthy, golds and reds for very sunny people. I
love that; it's breathtaking."
Filmmakers had six weeks, hampered by spring rain, to create the 13-acre
Amity set inside an established rural community. Over 200 workers of every type
of craft worked seven days a week on three major structures: constructing the
signature Amity Dome with the tree centerpiece, building a crumbling concrete
freeway overpass, and altering the existing horse stable. All the while, dozens
of greens crew members planted vegetables, flowers and grass crops, and covered
parking areas and sidewalks with tons of organic material.
"The idea was to be able to film 360 degrees around, run all over the place,
drive trucks through our set," says art director Alan Hook. "We had drones out
there filming and huge scoping cranes. The dome was a huge wood and glass
structure: 65 feet tall and 100 feet around. We need all of this at the top of
the shooting schedule, so pulling it all off in time was probably the biggest
nail-biter on the show. We worked on the dome right up until the morning that it
"Robert was very clear early on that the first set needed to have a wow
factor," adds Hook. "The audience needed to come over that rise, look out under
the broken-down expressway, over the field, and see the dome. Our heroes have
just run through the woods and the first thing they see needs to be a big visual
statement. I'm proud of the dome and the team who created it."
Tris' sunny Amity wardrobe was also in contrast to her turmoil. "I showed
Robert 50 or 60 ideas for Amity women," remembers Mingenbach. "In the first
movie, you only see bits of Amity. This time Robert and I talked about opening
up the palette, seeing more skin, and putting more variety in their costumes.
That's also how we found the look for Naomi Watts in Factionless, as well as
Tris' main costume."
"The key to the Amity set design is the crumbling concrete overpass in view
of the dome and the barn. You have to see that Amity is an artificial society
superimposed on what was there before," says Hammond. "In our research phase
Robert found a photo of two girls on a swing underneath an overpass. We used
that image early in the film because it created the right juxtaposition-a sense
of Eden where you never forget that this is a ruined world."
Johanna's barn loft office, facial scar and flowing costumes helped Octavia
Spencer find her character, who has chosen to make peace the main value of her
life. Set decorator Kathy Lucas and her team spent weeks scouring the Georgia
countryside for the many textured and weathered pieces of one-of-a-kind
furniture for the office. That style "happens to be a chic interior design motif
right now, so we were able to find stuff that looked reclaimed, or was," says
Lucas. "Also some very talented local set dressers actually built a lot of the
Prosthetics makeup artist Margie Kaklamanos was flown in to create the
character's signature facial scar. "We did quite a few makeup tests before we
started filming," says Spencer. "Getting the scar applied definitely takes me
out of Octavia's world into Johanna's world. There is a story behind that scar,
which she wears like a badge of honor, and it brings me to who the character
In addition to the massive sets and incredible costumes and makeup, for this
installment, Hammond and his art department also designed new vehicles and
weapons, which played heavily in the heroes' escape and chase from Amity. The
55,000-pound military vehicles that carry Max and Eric to find the rebels in
Amity had recently been decommissioned as troop carriers in Afghanistan.
Schwentke insisted on verisimilitude when it came to weaponry as well.
"Robert wanted his guns to actually fire," says Hammond. "He wanted to see the
recoil, the muzzle flash and the shells ejecting. We redesigned the weapons from
scratch based on existing weapons systems, and we had casings made that fit onto
The Divergent Series: Insurgent team also designed a cargo train on which to
stage a fight when Tris, Four and Caleb first encounter the Factionless. "Our
mission was to put a phenomenal fight scene together," states Prescott. "We
always adapt to the environment and the side-by-side train cars were a unique,
cool place to stage a fight-we could bring guys in and out, hang them off
fabric, and use the train and the sliding doors as weapons."
"Inside the train, we created layers, nooks, crannies and levels to give the
stunts a playground," says Hook. And while Tris, Four and Caleb's safety is so
tenuous on board, audiences will be waiting in suspense to see if the
Factionless compound they are headed to will prove even more dangerous refuge.
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