Shailene Woodley Is New Class’ ‘Most Likely To Surprise’

'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' actress will star with George Clooney in 'The Descendants.'

Shailene Woodley is already the star of the hit ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” For those not familiar with the show: It’s kind of like MTV’s “Teen Mom,” but all the drama is fiction. Still only a teenager at 19, Woodley is readying her not-so-secret life for the next phase of her budding career.

She’s set to star in the Alexander Payne-directed “The Descendants”
with George Clooney, and her turn in the drama will likely help her connect to a whole new crop of fans. The film, which opens November 18, centers on a family trying to piece their lives back together.

Clooney plays Woodley’s dad who is trying to reconnect with her after his wife gets in a boating accident that leaves her in a coma.

Now that Woodley is ready to show another side of herself, she is the up-and-comer MTV Movies has named the New Class’ “Most Likely to Surprise Everyone.”

MTV: Do you get excited about roles?

Shailene Woodley: From the second I first read the screenplay for “The Descendants,” I was incredibly passionate about it. I loved how human it was and how it dealt with raw emotions, and it didn’t try and cover up the messiness of everyday life. So, I was incredibly passionate about it … And then Alexander became attached, and George Clooney became attached. Those were added components, but it was the screenplay that I fell in love with.

MTV: There are so many points where you can relate to this story. Can you give me a sense of what really hit you hard?

Woodley: There’s so many components: the loss of someone or someone being in a hospital or the dysfunctional family. Everyone can relate to all of those; we’ve all had those hardships. But, for me, it was more about the art of making a film that was real and a film that was human because I feel like cinema has drifted so far away from the truth of humanity that it was really refreshing to be raw and emotional in a film that was also comedic.

MTV: We’re always looking ahead, so we’re anointing you as a part of our New Class. Does it feel like now the choices are going to be different and more important?

Woodley: People always talk about “strategy” and whatnot. If a screenplay fuels my soul, then that’s what fuels my soul, and that’s what I’m going to be passionately committed to. I would love to continue to do movies ’cause that’s where my heart lies. I’m so grateful to the show, and I look forward to seeing what happens, and in the meantime, I’ll go hike the Swiss Alps.

MTV: Is it useful to look at other actors [for inspiration]?

Woodley: Absolutely! I think the world of Natalie Portman and Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I find them so inspiring, not only as actors, but as human beings, and I really respect their choices in films and what they bring to the table.

For more on all the up-and-comers who make up MTV’s New Class, visit NewClass.MTV.com.

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.