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'Insurgent': Octavia Spencer joins the cast

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On May 12 Deadline reported that Oscar winner Octavia Spencer will be joining the cast of "Insurgent," the highly anticipated sequel to the young adult dystopian novel turned film "Divergent" by Veronica Roth. The sequel was given the green light by Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate the same weekend the first film was released. Spencer has landed the role of Johanna, the leader of the Amity faction.

Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) ended up in a train car heading away from Dauntless headquarters at the end of the first film. In the book series, the pair and their companions head to the fence and take refuge at Amity, the friendly faction that is all about peace and cultivating land. The faction agrees to let them stay temporarily as long as they give up their weapons and follow the rules of Amity.

Spencer is the first new cast member announced for the new film, which is expected to be released on March 20, 2015. The film will introduce the faction not shown in the first movie, including Amity and Candor. Actress Kate Winslet will also return to reprise the role of Erudite faction leader Jeanine who tries to stop Tris and Four. The film will also have a new director, since Robert Schwentke stepped into the role left by Neil Burger.

On May 12 Comingsoon.net posted that the best-selling trilogy by author Veronica Roth would be split into four films in order to fit everything from the books into the movies. The final book, "Allegiant," will be split into two films to be released in 2016 and 2017. The first film grossed over two hundred and fifty million dollars at the box office, giving it the same success as films like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games," which are also young adult series.

Spencer is known for her role as Minny Jackson in "The Help," for which she was nominated and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. She also won a Critic's Choice Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA for the role. The actress was born and raised in Alabama and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University. She can next be seen in the James Brown biopic "Get On Up" and the film "Car Dogs." Spencer has also landed a leading role in the upcoming television drama "Red Band Society" as Nurse Jackson, which was picked up to series by Fox.

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