8 Actors Theo James Competed With to Play Four in ‘Divergent’ (Including a ‘Hunger Games’ Star & More)

The Divergent film series, based on Veronica Roth’s novels, is a cornerstone of teen dystopian fiction, captivating audiences with its intricate world-building and intense character dynamics. At the heart of the series is Tris, portrayed by Shailene Woodley, and her love interest, Tobias Eaton, better known as Four, played by Theo James. While Shailene was a clear choice for Tris, Theo had to face stiff competition to land the role of Four.

To celebrate Divergent’s arrival on Netflix, we’ve delved into the casting history and uncovered eight actors who auditioned for the role of Four. These actors, some of whom are now household names, were all considered for this pivotal role, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the casting process.

The Divergent Casting Process

The Divergent series is renowned for its dynamic characters and gripping storyline. The casting of Tris and Four was crucial to the film’s success. While Shailene Woodley was the sole actress considered for Tris, the role of Four saw a myriad of talented actors vying for the part. This included Theo James’ key co-star and a notable actor from the Hunger Games franchise. Below, we explore these actors and their journeys.

1. Alex Pettyfer

Alex Pettyfer, known for his roles in “I Am Number Four” and “Magic Mike”, was one of the top contenders for the role of Four. Pettyfer’s rugged good looks and brooding intensity made him a natural fit for the dystopian hero. His prior experience in action films positioned him as a strong candidate, but ultimately, the role went to Theo James.

2. Jeremy Irvine

Jeremy Irvine gained fame with his performance in “War Horse”. His ability to convey deep emotion and vulnerability made him a compelling choice for Four. Irvine’s audition was reportedly well-received, and his talent was undeniable. However, the casting directors felt that Theo James brought a unique blend of strength and sensitivity that was essential for the character.

3. Lucas Till

Lucas Till, best known for his role as Havok in the “X-Men” series, also auditioned for Four. Till’s background in action films and his ability to portray complex characters made him a strong contender. Despite his impressive credentials, the chemistry between Theo James and Shailene Woodley ultimately tipped the scales in favor of James.

4. Brenton Thwaites

Brenton Thwaites, who later starred in “The Giver” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”, was another actor considered for Four. Thwaites’ boyish charm and acting chops made him a favorite among fans of the book series. However, the casting team decided that Theo James’ portrayal of Four’s tough exterior and underlying vulnerability was a better fit for the film.

5. Jack Reynor

Jack Reynor, known for his work in “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, was a notable contender for the role. Reynor’s screen presence and ability to handle action-packed scenes made him a viable option. Despite his talents, Theo James’ deeper connection with the character and his co-stars secured him the role.

6. Luke Bracey

Luke Bracey, an Australian actor with roles in “The Best of Me” and “Point Break”, auditioned for Four as well. Bracey’s rugged appeal and acting experience in action dramas made him a strong candidate. However, the producers felt that Theo James’ performance brought an essential depth and gravitas to the character of Four.

7. Ansel Elgort

Interestingly, Ansel Elgort, who eventually played Caleb Prior, Tris’ brother, was also in the running for Four. Elgort’s audition showcased his versatility and strong acting skills. While he didn’t get the part of Four, his performance as Caleb was well-received, adding another layer of complexity to the film’s sibling dynamics.

8. Alexander Ludwig

Alexander Ludwig, famous for his role as Cato in “The Hunger Games”, was another notable name in the mix. Ludwig’s experience in dystopian films and his imposing screen presence made him a natural fit for Four. However, the casting directors ultimately chose Theo James for his unique interpretation of the character.

Theo James: The Perfect Fit

Theo James’ portrayal of Four was a defining moment in his career. His ability to balance the character’s toughness with a tender, protective side resonated with audiences worldwide. James’ chemistry with Shailene Woodley was palpable, adding authenticity to the film’s central romance.

The Divergent series has left a lasting impact on its fans, and Theo James’ performance as Four is a significant part of its legacy. The casting process highlighted the depth of talent in Hollywood, and the choice of Theo James proved to be a pivotal one for the series’ success.

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