Mekhi Phifer finds real-life parallels in ‘Divergent’

MEKHI PHIFER stars in DIVERGENT
Mekhi Phifer plays Dauntless leader Max in “Divergent.”
Credit: Summit

Mekhi Phifer likes to think he has some things in common with his “Divergent” character, Max. In the movie (out March 21), Max is a leader of the most fearless people in society, one of the bravest in already too-brave faction. “I survived the street of Harlem,” Phifer jokes to us when talking about being fearless in real life. “I think there’s a certain sense of bravery and action-oriented spirit that I have and crave.”

But when asked who the bravest person on set was, he points not to himself, but to co-star Maggie Q. “She studied under Jackie Chan and his team of people. You have to be pretty fearless to do the things those stunt people do, running up walls and fighting,” he says. “But after Maggie Q, I would have to say Shailene Woodley for all the things she had to do in this film. I give her a lot of credit,” he says.

The movie is set in post-apocalyptic Chicago, in a world divided into five factions based upon a supreme virtue: honesty, intelligence, selflessness, peace or bravery, which is of course the faction Phifer’s character is from. Every member of society must choose a faction when they are 16 years old, and those who don’t fit in anywhere are “divergent” and deemed a threat to society.

“I think it touches on real life,” Phifer tells us. “The government is getting more and more Big Brotherish, looking over a lot of shoulders. You can’t go anywhere without a camera catching you. … I think with any post-apocalyptic, post-war film, there’s always a touch of truism that this could possibly be the future.”

Phifer’s role is limited in this first installment in the trilogy, but he plays a much bigger part in the second movie, “Insurgent.” He explains that this first movie is more about introducing and developing his character, for which he chose to focus solely on the script and not the book the movie is based on, written by Veronica Roth. “I definitely want to read the books [later], but I didn’t want to be jaded by anything,” he says.

While shooting for the second movie is a long way off, Phifer describes the vibe on set as every actor’s dream. “You never know what you’re going to get when you walk onto a set, but everyone was so happy and excited to be there. The cast gelled together really well and was so funny and fun. … I look forward to doing it again!”

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

 

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…