Credit: Nick Simonite

Forty-two hardcore Divergent fans were treated to a nice surprise on Thursday in Austin, Texas, when star Theo James (who plays brave and brooding Tobias Eaton, or Four, alongside Shailene Woodley’s Tris) surprised them at the Alamo Drafthouse. The fearless pack of fans, who’d gathered to participate in a field trip event testing their Dauntless potential, were stunned when the British actor showed up to wish them courage on their adventure. They were preparing to depart on a bus for Cypress Canopy Tours, where they’d test their own initiate skills, from zip-lining to knife-throwing and hand-to hand combat. The evening of fun chest-thumping would wrap up with a game of Capture the Flag and a Dauntless-approved hamburger barbecue.

Granted, this was an unlikely group of warriors—sweet tweens and their moms, blushing women and a smattering of pale boyfriends, everybody in new, black studio-supplied Divergent t-shirts. As for how to best weather their initiation rites, James advised, “If anybody gets in your face, give them an elbow. Make sure at all times you’re watching your back because you never know for sure who’s going to come up and try to break your neck. No,” he said with a laugh, ” just don’t kill yourselves. Shailene and I saw the movie last week and we think you’re going to be really happy with it so don’t kill yourselves with knives today.”

When asked what were his favorite stunts to do in the movie, James told the eager crowd about the thrill of shooting the infamous ferris wheel scene. “Shai and I we were up on the ferris wheel and the whole crew was down on the ground and there were just a few cameras on cranes,” he said. “So, it felt like we were actually doing it. It was five in the morning on a beautiful spring Chicago night. And then the big climax at the end during the fight sequence, I think at one point there were seven guys I had to battle at once. It was a childhood fantasy I have to say.”

When EW asked James if he’d ever participated in similar fandom like Veronica Roth devotees, he said that when he was a child, growing up the youngest of five, his family worshipped en masse The Lord of the Rings series. “That was a massive thing in our family so when all the movies came out we all went to see them on Christmas together,” he said. “We always loved Aragorn from the books the best of course, because he’s a legend.”

James is in Austin to co-present with Woodley the award for Best Music Video and present an exclusive clip from the movie at Thursday night’s mtvU Woodies. Divergent opens in theaters on March 21.

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