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Sneed exclusive: Hollywood to film teen sci-fi “Divergent” in Chicago

Shailene Woodley arrives world premiere 'The Hunger Games' Monday March 12 2012 Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

Shailene Woodley arrives at the world premiere of "The Hunger Games" on Monday March 12, 2012 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)

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Updated: January 24, 2013 6:38AM



Sneed scoop: Sneed has learned a big-time blockbuster sci-fi teen scene movie is set to be filmed in Chicago.

It’s a big deal.

The film, based on the popular book trilogy for young adults titled “Divergent,” will star actress Shailene Woodley, who recently starred in the hit George Clooney film “The Descendants.”

Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Film Office — as well as the massive film studio Cinespace — worked hard to recruit the gig, which is expected to bring the state tons of cash and lure the same teen audience who ensured the monetary success of the “Twilight” film series and “The Hunger Games,” both of which are based on books.

“They’ve been busy for months wooing a new blockbuster to Illinois,” said the source. The movie is about a teenage girl who lives in a dystopian Chicago society divided into factions based on different virtues.

Filmmakers “fell in love” with various shooting locations around Chicago, according to the source.

The movie will be directed by Neil Burger, who recently directed 2011’s “Limitless” featuring Bradley Cooper. Burger also wrote and directed “The Illusionist,” which came out in 2006.

Deadline.com reported in November that the filmmakers were considering Luke Bracey, Brenton Thwaites, Lucas “X-Men: First Class” Till and Jack Reynor as potential male leads in the film.

Look for officials to announce major jobs for the local film industry and big spending in Illinois next month.

The big search...

Huh? A top State Police source tells Sneed the feds have yet to ask for State Police resources in finding the escaped convicts from the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Tuesday, one of whom was found in a North Side Chicago neighborhood Thursday night. “We went ahead and placed bulletins on the expressways and outliers,” the source said.

Scoopsville...

Please note: On Dec. 14, a week ago, the Sun-Times reported: “President Barack Obama has chosen U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to be the next secretary of state, a source has told Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed. His replacement as head of the Senate Foreign Relations committee will be Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.”

◆The bankshot: On Friday, Sneed’s scoop was confirmed with the president’s announcement of Sen. Kerry as his choice.

◆Why the delay in Obama making his selection public? Sneed is told it had to do with the fiscal cliff brouhaha and the decision to break off talks until after the Christmas holiday.

◆Next shot: Now stay tuned for the second half of Sneed’s tip: the future of Sen. Menendez, who has heaps of relatives in Chicago.

◆Huh? Politico reports actor Ben Affleck is among those being considered by the Democratic party to replace Sen. Kerry. Affleck didn’t exactly strike down the possibility, saying, “Well, one never knows,” in an interview airing on CBS on Sunday.

Royal rantings...

Toot! Toot! Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip opted not to use the royal train to travel to the Sandringham estate Thursday for Christmas because it was just toooooo expensive, don’tchaknow — and wound up taking a regular train with 50 members of the many.

◆What’s the world coming to? Da gruff and grumble prince, who is 91, was spotted carrying a book titled “The End of Empire, Atilla the Hun and the Fall of Rome” by Christopher Kelly.

Fire & fuel...

Veteran newsman Sam Donaldson has had a pretty bad year. Not only was he arrested this week for a DUI in Delaware, but in case you forgot, part of his New Mexico ranch burned in a wildfire in July.

A tale of three Pats...

Spotted: Gov. Pat Quinn introducing former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to Northwestern University’s head football coach Pat Fitzgerald Tuesday night at the Bulls game. (The three Bulls fans chatted about the possibility of Northwestern winning its first bowl game since 1949.)

I spy...

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Gov. Pat Quinn and Obama’s campaign adviser David Axelrod all attended Samba Night at Carnivale restaurant Tuesday ... and former Chicago Bear Shaun Gayle was spotted Friday at Bar Umbriago.

Sneedlings...

Saturday’s birthdays: Diane Sawyer, 67; Ralph Fiennes, 50; and Dr. Ram Raju, ageless. Sunday’s birthdays: Eddie Vedder, 48; Susan Lucci (right) 66; and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, 45.



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