Divergent is out in theaters today and, after a thorough bashing, the film’s fate is now in the hands of moviegoers. Thanks to the book series’ devoted fan base, it’s likely that Divergent will top this weekend’s box office, or at least come near it. And it’s not just because of the success of the books. If there’s one thing the critics all seem to like (and it is really only one thing) it’s Shailene Woodley as Tris Prior and Theo James as the love interest, Four.
Woodley isn't really close to home in post-apocalyptic Chicago, but she makes it work.
While doing the press rounds for Divergent, Woodley recently talked about her newfound stardom to NPR. Starring in two book-to-movie adaptations this year, Woodley has plenty of experience with the genre – in fact, she finds it easier to work with.
"The books kind of do the work for you," Woodley observes about the advantages of playing such roles. "I would read a scene, then read that same scene in the book and get a bigger perspective of what my character is going through in that moment."
Watch a featurette for the film below.
So she’s a reader, too. With her choice of roles, Woodley is set to join the ranks of actresses like Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence or Emma Watson in the fantasy, YA, dystopian genre We’re going to go ahead and call it now – the age of bookish, nerdy actresses is upon us. Woodley isn’t just another product of the Hollywood machine though – on screen and in real life, she seems relatable and genuine in her own unique way. Woodley stresses that acting, for her, isn't about analyzing scripts or probing her characters' motivation.
"I don't really work that way," she explains in her NPR interview. "For me, it's about being fully present and actively listening to every single thing that's going on around me and reacting to it. Because I feel the second I premeditate something, it's going to feel premeditated."
Chopping off her hair and donating it to cancer patients before playing one herself was just par for the course for Woodley.
John Green, the author of The Fault in Our Stars, which Woodley’s upcoming movie is based on, has seen her acting abilities first-hand. "She was so inconsolable I wanted to go there and check on her," he confesses. "I actually asked the producers — I think you should stop and make sure she's okay. And they were like, She's fine."
She’s better than fine, in fact. With the kind of press Woodley has been getting and the kind of performances she’s (reportedly) been delivering, there’s nowhere for this young star to go, but up.