Theo James on bisexual allegory of Divergent and gay superheroes

Divergent, based on the YA series by Veronica Roth, can be compared to similar dystopian stories The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner but could stand out as “sci-fi’s first successful bisexual allegory,” as it’s been labelled by The Advocate.

The plot of Divergent centres on a dystopian society that has been separated into five factions based on virtues: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peacefulness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (courage) and Erudite (intelligence). People with personalities that do not conform and can fit into multiple areas of society are considered “divergent.” Viewed as threats to society, they are hunted down and killed.

The bisexual allegory is seen in the way people aren’t understood, considered different and ultimately ostracized for their multifaceted identity and preferences.

The film’s male lead and instant heartthrob, Theo James, acknowledges the gay connection.

“The five factions represent the basic levels of conformity and a divergent fits into not one of them, but multiple,” he tells The Advocate. “Yeah, I can see it. That’s interesting.”

As for whether there will be a less abstract gay film like Divergent in the near future, James is unsure.

“It’s very hard to tell,” he says, “because today there are great shows like Looking, poignant pieces of work that revolve around a central cast of characters that happen to be gay, but I remember when Queer as Folk came out and thinking, things are changing. Maybe there will be more [shows like this]. And then suddenly there was a drought. Hopefully the day [we have a gay action hero] isn’t far away.”

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