Shailene Woodley and Theo James had Toronto buzzing when they came to visit for the advance screening of Divergent.
Faze sat down with Shailene Woodley to talk about her career, Miles Teller and the pressure women receive in media and in life.
What made you decide to become an actress?
It was sort of something that sparked my interest. I look back now and wonder how it happened, because I was five. But I think at that age it doesn’t matter if you’re playing with play dough or whatever, you just want to be entertained and doing something.
I was a very extraverted child, so acting seemed like something that was fun. I really enjoyed improv classes and I loved cultivating the art behind it. I always used to say that acting was my hobby, but now it’s a career because it takes up all of my time.
I still live by the idea that the day it doesn’t become fun, or the day that I feel like it’s something I have to do, I’m going to quit. After doing the movie The Fault in Our Stars, I got to meet a lot of people with cancer and they’re going through really intense situations. I learned that there’s nothing justifiable life and life isn’t fair, so you might as well take the moments that you have and enjoy every single one of them.
You’ve worked with Miles Teller, who plays Dauntless initiate Peter, before Divergent, on the movie Spectacular Now. Was working with him again a surprise to you when he was announced as part of the cast?
I heard that he was up for it and I called him and I told him that he better do it. He’s such a good actor, and even though Peter’s role is big in the book and the movie, it’s not as big as Theo or me. I don’t think that choice was easy for him, but I told him he had to!
In Divergent, Tris makes it clear that she doesn’t want to go too far with Four. Why do you think that was?
That was Tris’ first kiss and when I was a teenager growing up, I didn’t sleep with the first guy I kissed, the first time I kissed him. I think that it’s easy to assume that’ll happen because in most movies you see that. Girls lose their virginity, their kissing virginity, their holding hands virginity, their cuddling virginity all in the same moment and I’m like, “I don’t remember it happening like that.”
Something that I thought that was very neat was that Tris respected herself enough, at a young age, to be able to say no. A lot of girls feel the pressure to be cool, or to fit in, or whatever it is, but you have the right to choose.
There’s a lot of chatter that you’re going to be the next Jennifer Lawrence. Do you think that the media creates rivalry that doesn’t need to be there?
Totally! How can we, as females, and as citizens on this earth, expect men to start respecting us when females can’t find sisterhood and can’t find support for one another? Putting another woman down, and raising another woman up is disgusting and makes me want to puke in my mouth. As far as comparisons go, I say compare leads to despair.
Did you learn and tips and tricks from Kate Winslet while working with her?
Yeah, the thing with Kate is that she loves acting and that’s it. She loves diving into a character. She shows up early every single day, she’s always hanging around and she loves the energy of being on set. She asks smart questions and does her work to make the story better. She’ll go out of her way to make sure it’s truthful before she gets on stage. She also makes it very comfortable by getting to know everyone by name.
Plus, she’s such a good actress. You take a strong female and put her into a strong antagonizing roll and it’s amazing.