“The Hunger Games” has enjoyed a relatively rival-free run for the title of top dystopian adaptation, but another tribute is primed to enter the arena come March 21, 2014: Veronica Roth’s best-selling “Divergent.”
Set in a near-future Chicago in which the population is divided into five factions, “Divergent” follows teen Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she chooses which faction to pledge her loyalty to — a decision that will have greater consequences than she ever could have imagined.
“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” actress Shailene Woodley has been cast as Tris, and now fans are itching to know who will play love interest Tobias “Four” Eaton. The latest from the casting rumor mill has it that Lucas Till, Alex Pettyfer and Jeremy Irvine are in the running for the role, so when we caught up with Woodley at the Sundance Film Festival, where she was promoting her film “The Spectacular Now,” we had to ask how the Four casting process was going.
“Dude, I want to find him. We have been doing some tests. We’ve been doing some auditions,” Woodley said. “We’ll see what happens. As of now, we have been scoping out the land. There are a few in particular — two guys — that I think are really great.”
Though Woodley didn’t name names, she was specific about what traits a would-be Four should possess.
“The thing about Four is that he has to be a man. No feminine actors, please,” she said. “You cannot walk in that room in pretty little boots and pretend you’re a man. I’m sorry. You need to walk in there, and you need to not have muscles that look good and not actually work. There have been a few guys that have this power about them. It’s a natural masculine power that some people have and some people don’t. There’s nothing good or bad or wrong or right about it. This character needs to be extremely masculine, and his eyes need to scream vulnerability and sensitivity. It’s really hard to find in a dude, especially a dude who can act.”
The 21-year-old added that the screen-testing process has been less about the particular scenes and more about having that certain something with the men reading for Four.
“It’s more just the chemistry between the two of us and seeing if we do have that chemistry or can work on that chemistry — seeing if our back-and-forth dialogue makes any sense with each other,” she explained. “There’s a lot of standards that have to be met.”
As to how she’s preparing for what will likely be a demanding role (for example, in more than one scene we see Tris jump onto a moving train), it seems Woodley is preparing more mentally rather than physically.
“I think that a big thing is just pretending that I live in that world. It’s a world that’s so different from today, but not really,” she said. “Thinking of the dystopian world and living in different factions and not being allowed to express your multiple personalities. Being constricted to one thing is going to be the challenge.”