DETAILS – Stealing scenes from George Clooney wasn’t enough. Now the 21-year-old is running off with the show in The Spectacular Now and in next year’s big-budget dystopian thriller Divergent.
DETAILS: George Clooney, Your costar in The Descendants, once said you’re a “50-year-old scientist in a 20-year-old body.” What does that mean?
SHAILENE WOODLEY: I don’t think he meant nerdy like a scientist. I think maybe he meant more mature? I guess…
DETAILS: You were the popular girl in high school, but in The Spectacular Now you play a shy, awkward teen. It’s very John Hughes.
SHAILENE WOODLEY: That’s what I love about it, that it’s a modern-day eighties movie. It’s so real and so raw and not played up to anything dramatic or oversized.
DETAILS: Next year, you’re going to star in the much-anticipated, big-budget movie Divergent. Are you prepared for that kind of celebrity?
SHAILENE WOODLEY: I don’t abide by the C-word. I think that people are interested in you if you give them something to be interested in. I don’t give them anything to talk about—I lead a boring life.
TIME – In The Spectacular Now, opening August 2, Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller take on the roles of two high-school students finding their way in love, life and academia. Next spring, they’ll share the screen in Divergent, an adaptation of a very different YA novel, in which they play enemies rather than prom dates. They sat down with TIME to discuss making that switch (and the very different project they’d like to collaborate on in the future).
So you guys just got back from Comic-Con, where you were on behalf of Divergent. How did it compare to your expectations?
Miles Teller: The big hall was pretty impressive. There were like 6,000 people in there and there’s a giant screen behind you. I’ve never been a part of a really big movie, and when the sound effects come in it’s like BOOM. It’s a big, big movie. But I thought it would be weirder, personally.
MT: Like, I thought it would be weird. And it really wasn’t. I was on the convention floor and I saw a couple cool costumes, a lot of zombies. But I’ve been to music festivals that were weirder—and I really was looking for it.
Shailene Woodley: I was looking for weird too and I was really bummed out. I saw R2-D2, which was pretty fancy, but apart from that…
VANITY FAIR – This summer’s most authentic coming-of-age drama arrives courtesy of Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole, Footloose), who radiate as unlikely teenage love interests in The Spectacular Now, out in theaters today. In the James Ponsoldt film—which was adapted from Tim Tharp’s bittersweet novel by (500) Days of Summer screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber—Teller stars as a charismatic high-school senior more concerned with the omnipresence of his flask than his academics or future. His trajectory is altered, ever so slightly, when he wakes up on the lawn of an unassuming classmate, Aimee (Woodley)—who is more sci-fi than socially oriented—and draws her into his orbit.
In advance of the film’s release, Woodley phoned VF.com last week to discuss how her high-school relationship informed her performance, why she loved her first sex scene so much, and why Miles Teller is stuck with her for the next four years.
You and Miles have great chemistry and are so convincing as a guy and girl who have a loving but complicated relationship. How did you first meet and build that rapport?
We met right before we began filming. We ate lunch together and then talked for about two or three hours and then went straight to Georgia. We just naturally became friends and he became my brother for life. I want to do a movie a year with him.
USA TODAY – Shailene Woodley did everything to avoid awkwardness when meeting Miles Teller in advance of shooting The Spectacular Now last year.
She had seen 2010’s Rabbit Hole and assumed her future co-star would be like his introverted character in the somber tale. So she sent a long pre-lunch e-mail as a conversation starter.
“But he showed up and was not introverted and was just this amazing life force,” says Woodley. “It’s not what I expected and it blew me away.”
The chemistry between the rising Hollywood stars will be on full display with Friday’s opening (in Los Angeles and New York; wider on Aug. 9) of The Spectacular Now. They play a high school couple working through young love — performances that already earned a Special Jury award for Woodley, 21, and Teller, 26, at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
“There’s certain things you cannot fabricate,” says director James Ponsoldt. “They have a real beautiful energy between them. I tried to put as much of them into their roles since they are both so honest.”