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
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.