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'Divergent' sequel will film in Atlanta, but what about Chicago?

It's “The Dark Knight” and “Man of Steel” all over again.

The “Divergent” franchise has made plans to film its sequel, “Insurgent,” in Atlanta after filming the first movie in the trilogy in Chicago last year for three months. “Insurgent” will likely film in Chicago as well, but it doesn't appear the cast and crew will spend as much time filming here as they did during “Divergent.”

The movie starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James is based on the young adult books by Chicagoan and Northwestern alum Veronica Roth, who set the story in dystopian Chicago.

“That's what I've heard,” said Roth about the Atlanta news Tuesday at the Chicago premiere of “Divergent” at Showplace Icon. “We have to wait and see. I think it's because of boring reasons like something about tax credits. I don't know.”

Chicago film office director Rich Moskal shed more light on the studio's decision to film in Atlanta.

“The State of Georgia film incentive gives producers credit for out-of-state expenditures, like actors and producers that come from Los Angeles,” Moskal said by email Wednesday. “As a result, those productions receive an even greater amount of money back. The Illinois incentive is very competitive, but only covers local expenditures (hiring local crew, talent, equipment rentals, etc).

“The Illinois incentive was designed for good reason: to maximize the utilization of local businesses, performers and crew. But true enough, it’s not the biggest incentive out there. Lionsgate also shot ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ in Atlanta. They’re very familiar with the location and the benefits of Georgia’s film incentive. Many factors played into their decision, but ultimately, they felt Atlanta was a good fit for the sequel.”

“The Dark Knight” predominantly filmed in Chicago but opted to shoot the sequel “The Dark Knight Rises” in Pittsburgh and New Jersey. “Man of Steel” filmed in Chicago and the suburbs, including Plano, Sugar Grove and the Yorkville area, but it appears the sequel will mostly shoot in Michigan with some filming in the Yorkville area.

The "Transformers" franchise, on the other hand, filmed part of the third film in the series, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," in Chicago and returned to shoot scenes for the fourth film, "Transformers: Age of Extinction."

Moskal said it's unclear what sort of role, if any, Chicago will play in “Insurgent.”

“Final production plans are still in the making,” Moskal said. “It seems likely that some portion of ‘Insurgent’ will be filmed in Chicago, but nothing certain on when or for how long.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

For more celebrity news and sightings in Chicago, go to chicagotribune.com/luis

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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