With the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Veronica Roth’s “Divergent,” actress Shailene Woodley will join the rarified ranks of highly scrutinized young-adult heroines that already includes Emma Watson, Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence. And after spending five years on the ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” you can hardly blame Woodley for hesitating when it came to signing another multi-year contract for a teen-skewing franchise.
As it turns out, we have Lawrence to partially thank for Woodley finally deciding to hop aboard the Dauntless train. As Woodley told Vanity Fair recently, she received some advice from “The Hunger Games” actress that she really took to heart. She recounted the story to MTV News recently while promoting another upcoming adaptation “The Spectacular Now” (out August 2):
“I still don’t know her. I’ve never met her,” Woodley said. “She was kind enough — I asked her, ‘How do you feel about ‘Hunger Games’ and having started in movies like ‘Winter’s Bone’ and being recognized for that, do you feel ‘Hunger Games’ was a smart decision for your personal life and your anonymity?’ All of these sort of concerns one has before taking on a movie like this. She said, ‘You’d be a fool not to take it. Some things change. Don’t make a sex tape, don’t do drugs, don’t go to Whole Foods when the movie opens. Other than that, just, like, live your life and have fun.’ Yeah, hearing that from her was really grounding and sort of made the decision so much easier because I do respect her and her choices.”
Woodley (and the world) witnessed the first fruits of her “Divergent” labor over the weekend as sneak peek footage debuted at San Diego Comic-Con — an experience the actress said was certainly surreal.
“I had seen it before, but it was the first time I’d seen it on a big screen with large speakers,” she said. “It was such a bizarre experience because we’d just finished filming 36 hours, if that, before. We literally went straight from Chicago to Comic-Con. To finish a movie and then sell it that quickly was a little bit bizarre, but it was sort of refreshing to see it done and not be working on it anymore and to hear others’ reactions and to see how excited they are. I think, visually, it’s going to be really different than any other young-adult film that’s been out there, so I’m excited.”
It’s a good thing too, considering Roth has two more volumes in her “Divergent” series, which could translate to a couple (if not more) film adaptations.
“Absolutely!” Woodley responded about whether she was game for a sequel. “We’re lucky — our cast is so incredible. Everybody is jazzed about it and excited to be aboard. Because it is so fresh still — I was in Chicago for five months — it’s kind of nice to take a break from the ‘Divergent’ world. I don’t need to do a big fight scene for a while.”
“Divergent” debuts March 21, 2014.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Divergent.”