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'Divergent' Features Norwood Park's Ford Brothers

By Justin Breen | March 16, 2014 6:41pm | Updated on March 18, 2014 10:24am
 Norwood Park siblings Hudson and Weston Ford play Abnegation children in the upcoming feature film "Divergent."
Divergent actors
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NORWOOD PARK — Hudson and Weston Ford are like many sets of silly siblings.

"They only time they're together and not trying to kill each other is when they're playing video games," said their mother, Jewell Ford.

You can add acting in movies to the moments when the Fords are at ease. The Norwood Park residents play brothers from the Abnegation faction in "Divergent," the dystopian film set in Chicago that debuts Friday.

(Warning: There are "Divergent" plot spoilers in the next three paragraphs)

Hudson, 14, an eighth-grader at Norwood Park Elementary, plays a character who survives an attack by the rival Dauntless group near the end of the movie. Weston, 10, a fourth-grader at the same school as his brother, wasn't so lucky.

 Norwood Park siblings Hudson (l.) and Weston Ford play Abnegation children in the upcoming movie "Divergent."
Norwood Park siblings Hudson (l.) and Weston Ford play Abnegation children in the upcoming movie "Divergent."
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DNAinfo/Justin Breen

"Did I like being in the movie with him?" Hudson asked jokingly. "He died, so yes."

Said Weston, whose nickname has been "Bruiser" since birth: "It was weird being killed. It's kind of weird thinking that you're dying."

In real life, the brothers are different as night and day. Hudson is far more reserved. The future Taft High School student wants to enroll at West Point and become a military strategist. One of his favorite books is Sun Tzu's "Art of War," which he's read three times.

His brother isn't nearly as much of a fan.

"I read a sentence of it, and it was the most boring book ever," Weston said.

Weston is much more boisterous than his older brother. He doesn't hide his aspiration to become either a "superstar or an opera singer."

"When he's not working, he goes a mile a minute," Jewell Ford said of Weston. "But as soon as they say 'Take your mark,' he's completely in character."

Both Fords started their professional careers as models and have appeared in store catalogs, such as those of Carson Pirie Scott, and national ad campaigns, including Lunchables.

Weston also sings in the Chicago Children's Choir, while both have acted productions by the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

"They are both very smart, outgoing and confident," said Edgewater resident Bill Walters, an assistant stage manager at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The boys are "at ease on stage and creative," he said.

Before "Divergent," their biggest exposure came as the fictional sons of actor Jeff Hephner, who played Ben Zajac, in the TV show "Boss."

"Hudson and Weston Ford are two of the most photogenic kids I have ever seen," said entertainer Nancy Hays, who lives near the Fords in Norwood Park. "The camera loves them. That is why it is not surprising that they have found success not just in national print campaigns, but also in TV and film work."

Gov. Pat Quinn said last year that “Divergent” was the largest feature film ever to be shot in the state.

The movie, starring Shailene Woodley and Kate Winslet, began filming at Cinespace on the Near West Side in April. Scenes also were shot in December at locations in the West Loop and Downtown, including Navy Pier, Willis Tower and the John Hancock Building.

The movie is based on a novel — the first of a series of three books — by Northwestern graduate Veronica Roth.

The Fords will be wearing gray — the same color their characters donned in "Divergent" — for Friday's cast-only premiere at the Showplace ICON theater, 150 W. Roosevelt Road.

"I am excited to see the movie because I really enjoy doing this, and I really want to see the end product," Hudson said.

Said Weston: "It's neat that I've gotten this far in the world of acting."