It’s going to be a very big year for Shailene Woodley. The former “Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Spectacular Now” star has two highly anticipated movies, both based on popular novels, on the way. In June, she plays a cancer patient in the adaptation of John Green’s tearjerker “The Fault in Our Stars,” but in a little over a month she’ll have the fate of a city on her shoulders in the dramatic adventure “Divergent.” Last week, before zip lining with co-star Theo James onto Jimmy Kimmel, Woodley sat down to chat about the role that might transform her into a major movie star.
Having spoken to Woodley a number of times (and amazingly, she remembers), it’s clear she’s not your typical twentysomething Hollywood ingenue. She’s as genuine and down to earth today as she was when I had dinner with her before the premiere of “The Descendants” at Telluride two and a half years ago. Part of it has to be her upbringing, but she’s also been lucky enough to be surrounded by peers who set a superb example. Woodley “broke out” with an awards-worthy turn as George Clooney’s daughter in the aforementioned “Descendants” and spent a few months trying to escape Kate Winslet’s evil eyes in “Divergent.”
“I don’t know how I lucked out, but Kate Winslet and George Clooney are so similar in that they just love acting and that’s it,” Woodley says. “They don’t like the glitz and the glamor. They don’t like the makeup trailer, they don’t like the magazines and the frufru-ness and the fancy award shows. They love being on the set and hanging out with the Teamsters and they love talking to the wardrobe department and hanging out with the sound guys. There is no ‘I’m this’ or ‘I’m that.'”
Woodley adds, “Kate said something to me once, ‘People make it harder on themselves than they need to be. In life in general, but especially actors. They take themselves too seriously.’ Kate and George are both there for the craft and the art of acting and they also just love to be around that environment. That’s really refreshing because that doesn’t happen with a lot of actors.”
Woodley also talks about what she loves about how being an actor allows her to learn more about herself, the “big studio” scale of “Divergent” and getting significant scars from all her stunt work.
You can watch the entire conversation with the always charming actress in the video embedded at the top of this post.
“Divergent” opens nationwide on March 21.