We’ve hardly heard a peep from “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” star Shailene Woodley since she was cast as heroine Beatrice “Tris” Prior in the big-screen adaptation of dystopian thriller “Divergent.” Well, not anymore, seeing as we caught up with the star today at the Sundance Film Festival, where she was promoting her movie “The Spectacular Now.”
So, first things first: What inspired Shailene to sign on for the role of the Dauntless factioner? We guarantee her answer is nothing you’d expect.
“I read the book, and I thought it was really—my whole thing, to be honest, is I never wanted to do big films,” she explained. “I’ve been acting for 16 years, and it was never something that I wanted to do, to be in a big blockbuster film, especially one that was similar to ‘Hunger Games’ or ‘Twilight.’ You know, one that had a huge pre-existing fan base and one that would carry on for multiple years.”
But that all changed once she cracked the spine on Veronica Roth’s young-adult novel.
“After I read the book, I was really profoundly moved, and it’s really metaphorical for things that are going on today, specifically things that I’m passionate about and things that I want to make public and things that I want to educate people on,” Shailene said. “So I think it’s a really great platform, not only artistically but also from a human level just to expose these kind of messy, nasty things that are going on in our country.”
What types of things, specifically?
“In ‘Divergent,’ people are injected with this serum and then controlled by it, and I think that it’s really funny that right now we’re starting to chip our dogs and chip our babies,” she said. “That’s just a small example. I could go on for hours. There’s also mind control that kind of gets dealt with in ‘Divergent.’ That’s going on today and nobody knows about that.”
“Divergent” is slated to hit theaters March 21, 2014.