For Woodley, the role of Hazel Brown can help redefine female roles
In ‘Fault in our Stars’, Shailene Woodley doesn’t play the typical, manicured female lead. She’s not struggling to attract a guy’s attention or stabbing daemons in the heart with knife drawn from her knee-high boots. She plays Hazel Grace, a cancer patient at the age of 16.
Ansel Elgort [L] and Shailene Woodley [R] in 'The Fault in Our Stars'
And Woodley isn’t just the star of the film, she was a fan of the book before it was adapted, and even pleaded with author, John Green, to act upon his surname and give a film version his blessing. ‘Green-light it’, in case you didn’t pick up on that.
"I didn't say I needed to be Hazel," Woodley explained at the movie’s premiere on June 2, according to CNN. "I said I needed this movie to get made. Because I knew that it would change the lives of millions of people." And although Woodley says she wasn’t angling for the main part, Green remembers things quite differently.
"The letter was extremely long, like 40 pages long, and ... I didn't technically know who Shailene Woodley was," he said. "So I just responded like, 'That's such a lovely e-mail! Thank you so much! But I am not a casting director.' And then when I saw her audition, of course I was horrified that I had not written her back and said, like, 'Please! Please! Be in our movie!'"
Woodley has been compared to Jennifer Lawrence of late, a comparison she doesn’t’ particularly care for. And while there are similarities between the pair – both are helping to subvert gender stereotypes in cinema in their own particular ways, Woodley is going about things slightly differently.
"In 'Fault,' I am trying to rewrite what a female lead can look like," Woodley said. "You've never seen a woman on the poster for a movie with a cannula in her nose."