Divergent

One choice can transform you.

Shailene as: Beatrice “Tris” Prior
Genre: Action | Romance | Sci-Fi
Director: Neil Burger
Other Cast: Kate Winslet, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Miles Teller
Release Date: March 21, 2014
Production Budget: $85m
Total Worldwide Gross: $252.6m (as of May 11, 2014)
Filming Locations: Chicago, Illinois

In a future world where people are divided into distinct factions based on their personalities, Tris Prior is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.

Facts and Trivia

Shailene’s fourth role in a novel adaptation after The Descendants, The Spectacular Now and White Bird in a Blizzard.

Shailene received several days of firearms training by Discreet Protection Security Group (DPS group) in order to prepare for her role.

Lucas Till, Jack Reynor, Jeremy Irvine, Alex Pettyfer, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Ludwig and Luke Bracey were all considered for role of Four. Theo James was eventually cast in March 2013.

The sound that Peter makes when Tris punches him in the throat is genuine. Shailene didn’t want to hurt Miles Teller, so was being timid during takes. As filming continued, the pair got more aggressive and during one take, Woodley actually hit him in the throat, which Teller wasn’t expecting. This is the take that is shown in the movie.

Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller had trouble filming their fight scene due to their close friendship. Woodley, in particular had difficulties and at one point referred to Teller as Sutter (his character in The Spectacular Now) in which the two played a couple. Teller had to take Woodley aside in order to get her to be more aggressive towards him.

Filmmakers used the cover name Catbird while filming public scenes for the film.

Kate Winslet was five months pregnant during filming. Despite only being on set for four weeks, it got to a point where shooting above her waist was required as well as her carrying folders, files and iPads to cover her baby bump in master shots.

Character Quotes

Further information not yet available.

Quoting: Shailene

I want people to know that Tris is normal and that she’s not a superhero. Maybe she’s an action star just because of the definition of that, but she’s not a superhero. She’s a very normal, young woman who is trying to figure herself out as well as trying to help her community. She’s sort of been given this gift of being the only one to be able to do what she’s able to do, and I don’t think that it makes her more special than anyone else. I think that she just happens to be the one who’s in the seat to do greatness.
– On her character

Tris has basically chosen to become her own person, rather than stay with her family. All adolescents can relate to that as people have to eventually leave the nest, but it’s a really hard choice for many to make. The idea of deciding the rest of your life at such a young age is very daunting, because once you leave the nest in the Divergent world, there is no going back. That’s incredibly frightening.
– On identifying with Tris

I love the Tris and Four dynamic because it’s so different than most young adult romances on screen. It’s very realistic. I love that it’s not necessarily a love at first sight dynamic. There’s obviously mutual attraction but respect, compassion, and trust… those things are completely separate from attraction. Throughout the film, Tris is trying to figure him out, because in one scene he’ll be vulnerable with her, and complimentary towards her, then in the next scene, he’s harsh, very strict, and very truthful to the point it induces pain in Tris. The The challenge of him is very intriguing to her.
– On Tris and Four’s relationship

Peter’s a little bit like a broken tortured soul, who puts forth so much energy to make sure that others are intimidated by him. There’s a deep insecurity layered within his own heart. As much as Tris wants to hate Peter, she sees that he’s not just one layer. She tries to not let them get to her. At the end of the film, she ends up saving Peter’s life and taking him with them. Specifically she has the opportunity to kill him and she doesn’t. That comes from a place of selflessness, her Abnegation roots. She sees this broken person in this very vulnerable state and spares him, because she recognizes that he’s a soul.
– On Tris and Peter’s relationship

Christina is Tris’ first real friend. Christina is honest, she’s confident, she’s beautiful, she’s everything that Tris hadn’t been exposed to in her previous life. She’s this new creature coming into her life and teaching her things that she had never been taught, who is open about things. That’s exciting for Tris. To have a confidante is incredibly important for the evolution of young females.
– On Tris and Christina’s relationship

Eric has a giant ego and many insecurities. He sees strength in Tris, he sees confidence in Tris, and he sees natural bravery within Tris. Eric is a strong person, but without necessarily the confidence to back him up, so he takes it out on Tris and pushes her and pushes her and pushes her, because he sees her as a threat.
– On Tris and Eric’s relationship

The training fight with Peter and Tris was intense. Learning it was really fun because neither of us had other done stunt fights before. They’re all very mechanical and cut together it looks really intense. Tris gets a few hits in, but Peter takes her down and he doesn’t stop. He’s relentless. It’s going to be a very powerful, hard scene to watch.
– On shooting the fight sequences

I don’t have a fear of heights, I have a fear of falling. The Ferris wheel was so simple. It looks way more complicated and way more intense than it was. We were actually on a ladder at about a forty-five degree angle and attached to safety lines. It was fun and beautiful. That night there was a full moon and it was the first lunar eclipse of the year. Theo and I got to experience that magical moment climbing up, which I’m not sure he cared about, but I thought it was pretty great.
– On shooting the ferris wheel scene

I’ve never worked with a director who shoots from such a strong visual point of view. Neil sees this film in a visual way, versus I’m used to doing movies where it’s more character driven, from a heart based point of view. This movie is going to be so beautiful to watch. Neil’s capability to create a world that doesn’t exist is unbelievable. I’m so in awe. But as actors, we couldn’t be luckier to have a director who’s so open to collaboration, who doesn’t really seem to have an ego.
– On working with Director Neil Burger

Silence is almost more powerful than dialogue. There are so many characteristics of a person that you can dial into when they don’t say anything. Theo’s reactions are amazing and his capability of listening is incredible. The mutual communication that we have between our eyes adds a lot to Tris and Four.
– On working with Theo James

Zoë has been amazing, and we have a lot in common. We have mutual friends, so before we connected face-to-face we already had a respect for each other. We have ten brothers on this movie, so it’s nice to have a sister on your arm.
– On working with Zoë Kravitz

Tony is a kind, pure person and he had such deep respect for Ashley, and Ashley had such deep respect for Tony. It was so beautiful, they both had really phenomenal things to say about each other. It was really amazing to witness their deep reverence for each other. Ashley is such a strong woman, who I respect so deeply. I’m in awe of what she’s able to accomplish with such ease and such beauty and such raw strong humanity.
– On working with Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn

Quoting: Cast and Crew

I’d been blown away by her in that movie [The Descendants] because I thought she had this incredible combination of vulnerability and rebelliousness, plus arrogance. That was the perfect combination for Tris. Shailene was one of the first people that I met in the casting process and she’s an incredible likeable person. She’s very real and she’s honest. She’s a hugger and she means it. She has a real sweetness and a real young quality about her.
– Director Neil Burger

Shai has hunted and she’s lived off the grid. She has these interests in being a survivalist, making due, finding what food you can eat in the forest, and living outside for days. She has it. She’s got this quality. She’s used guns before. I was really intrigued. But, she also has the girl-next-door, everyday quality to her. She can come off as not that special and at the beginning, when she’s still called Beatrice, she is the most unassuming person. But then Shai also had these athletic skills, these fighting skills, these weapons skills… she already had it and she was game for more.
– Director Neil Burger

Shai’s empowered—she’s a strong actress and intuitive. She’s not like a ‘girl’ in the Hollywood sense. Once there was a complex stunt we had to do—running next to this train and jumping on and off. She fell off the train and smacked her head. But she was up five minutes later, going, ‘I’m good.
– Theo James

There’s an honesty and an openness to her that is really rare in young women of that age, let alone young women in a fast-paced business that can chew you up and spit you out as soon as it’s said hello to you. You see young actors and actresses coming up and doing well, and then suddenly they start to unravel a bit and they forget themselves. With Shailene I get the sense that the more she does and the more of the world she sees, the more well-rounded she becomes.
– Kate Winslet

I keep saying to Shai that she does remind me a lot of myself when I was 21. When you’re carrying a film, you have to have a determination and a focus to be able to pull something off like she is. You really have to absolutely stay with it. I remember feeling as though I had to be the one leading the troops on. She very much has that spirit too, which is absolutely the way it should be. It’s really impressive to see her doing that. But it’s completely relentless. It’s like preparing for a marathon, both mentally and physically. She’s had a lot of physical challenges as well as on this, and she’s a good person, and that’s going to see her through everything.
– Kate Winslet

I didn’t really know anything about Shai before filming, but I rightly had a feeling that she’s someone that I wanted not just to work with, but to have in my life. I absolutely admire her. She is carrying herself with such grace and poise. She has an infectious sense of humor and an appreciation for what she’s doing that’s also contagious. She has a great brain, she has a beautiful heart, and she has a very special soul. Not to mention the fact that as an actor she is completely the real deal.
– Ashley Judd

Shailene Woodley is a gem. She is a doll. We worked together right before this film playing love interests, which is great, so we formed a really special bond. Then to do this project less than a year later, where our characters are at odds, is great. This shoot has long days. Literally one line, you can say for four or five hours and Shailene does something different every take. She’s very gracious. I’ve never heard Shailene complain about anything. We’re all in this thing together, and this movie’s bigger than any of us. We’ve all really bonded over trying to tell this story and give moviegoers what they want.
– Miles Teller

I deeply, deeply love Shailene, because she’s so grounded and rooted in something that’s very real. Shai knows who she is, she knows where she wants to go.
– Maggie Q

Christina’s relationship to Tris is like me and Shai in real life. They have this immediate connection, like you do at school when you meet someone on the first day and you think oh my God, you’re my best friend. They’re both really honest and brave and a little scared at the same time, and they find comfort in each other. Shai is an absolutely phenomenal human being and actress. She’s one of the reasons I was so excited to do this film. I love what she’s doing with her character. Tris is not a superhero. She’s a regular young woman who’s rising to the occasion. That’s a really interesting thing for all young women to see. She’s a girl who’s been put in this crazy scenario and she handles it. Tris is a powerful, real woman and that’s really great for young women to see in cinema.
– Zoë Kravitz

Shailene has such an honesty in the way that she approaches her work, there’s never a false beat, so Tris could never feel like an artificial role if Shai were in the center of it, because everything she does is so accessible, from a true place. We’ve come tocompletely adore her. There is not one moment of this that she is not in. She literally carries the entire movie. A 21-year-old girl sets the tone for all the other actors, on and off screen. She never complains and does it all with a smile… comes in and hugs everybody everyday.
– Producer Lucy Fisher

We were so ecstatic when we met Shai. She came in to our office and told us about what she was going to do that weekend, which was to be kidnapped by ‘a terrorist’ in an urban survivalist course. She likes to be dropped off for two weeks in Maine, and then live on her own with a gun and a hatchet. Can we be so lucky? This is what she’s actually doing for real. The Dauntless side was definitely there. She is riveting to watch and so honest and pure and when we found out that she was in real life a survivalist and could tote a gun, she was perfect. We thought we were going to have to meet a lot of actresses, but nobody could ever be better, so we decided very quickly that’s our girl. When her deal was done, she brought homemade cookies for every single person at Red Wagon and Lionsgate who was involved with her deal. Here comes the selfless girl and the Amity girl too. Plus she has a little candor in her, because she’ll tell you exactly what she thinks.
– Producer Lucy Fisher

When they cast Shailene, I was really excited because she’s a really talented actress and that delicate face is Tris. But I was also thinking, now Tris is hers. She gets to interpret this character. What I have seen from her is just amazing… Shai is the most authentic Tris I could’ve asked for because she’s a complicated character. She’s not always very nice. She’s sometimes an impetuous teenager. She’s not always so mature in her thinking, but she is at her heart a very good and compelling character. Shai has hit all the shades of Tris, and it feels very real every time that she says or does something, like a fully developed character.
– Author Veronica Roth

Critical Response

Woodley, through the delicate power of her acting, does something compelling: She shows you what a prickly, fearful, yet daring personality looks like when it’s nestled deep within the kind of modest, bookish girl who shouldn’t even like gym class.
– Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Woodley makes for more than uncertain enough of a hero to add detail and meaning to the implosion of this world. Not unlike The Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence, there’s little artifice to her performance, and the mundane honesty of her reactions create a believability that the world would otherwise lack.
– Todd Gilchrist, The Playlist

Woodley, by virtue of the sheer likability of her presence, keeps you hanging on, keeps you rooting for her. She may not have the blazing, rock-star power of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games, but there’s a subtlety and a naturalism to her performance that make her very accessible and appealing. And when she needs to crank it up and kick some butt—as she does in a climactic scene with Winslet as the evil Erudite leader who’s hell-bent on eradicating Divergents and maintaining control—she doesn’t oversell it.
– Christy Lemire, RogerEbert.com

Often these movies come down to whether you like looking at the lead actor’s face for two hours, and Divergent has a pip in Shailene Woodley. In her Abnegation phase, she allows herself to look rather plain, but her unusually dark eyes flicker in dissatisfaction with her enforced subservience: Her mask slides and is hastily reaffixed. Woodley’s responses are subtle but intense, and she ends up doing a lot of the screenwriters’ work for them. When Tris becomes a Dauntless, Woodley shows how she can’t conceal her softness — her skin flushes too easily.
– David Edelstein, New York Magazine

Woodley’s strong presence allows her to be all that she can be as Tris, dividing her time between scared and self-confident.
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Awards and Nominations

Further information not yet available.