TELEGRAPH – When I meet Shailene Woodley, she’s holding a cup of something mud-coloured and healthy-looking. In an attempt to establish some common ground. I hazard a guess: green tea? It turns out to be nettle. “It gives energy, and is full of iron,” she tells me. “So it’s especially good if you’re menstruating.”
I quickly learn that it’s a pretty typical Woodley comment – she channels a sort of hippy-ish, California vibe (she grew up just outside LA, she’s passionate about environmentalism, she drinks nettles), that sits alongside some very genuine down-to Earth charm.
If anyone’s in need of energy-boosting beverages, it’s Woodley. The actress had three films open in 2014: dystopian thriller Divergent (a sequel, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, is out next year), dark indie drama White Bird in A Blizzard, and bittersweet teen tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars.
The latter, adapted from the John Green YA novel, tells the story of a romance between Gus and Hazel, two teenagers with cancer. Even if you haven’t actually read The Fault in Our Stars, you’ve likely read part of it. Pithy, bite-sized quotes from the book – “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once”; “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities” – have invaded social media, testament to the novel’s popularity with its intended audience.
Despite its difficult subject matter, the film was was a breakout hit, grossing $304 million worldwide against its relatively modest budget of $12 million, and, along with Divergent, propelling Woodley to household name status. Previously, the actress made her feature film debut in Alexander Payne’s 2011 film The Descendents, playing the elder daughter of George Clooney’s character; prior to that she starred in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She was offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but her part was cut from the film, after the filmmakers made the decision to focus on the relationship between Peter and Gwen.
Woodley’s performance in The Faults in our Stars drew critical acclaim – as Hazel, she’s funny, vulnerable, acerbic and heart-breaking all at once – but, perhaps more importantly, earned a seal of approval from the book’s dedicated army of young fans.
“I felt pressure from myself, not from any outside source,” she says, when I ask if it was difficult taking on something with such a hardcore fan base. “Just because the book, and the screenplay, affected me on such a cellular level.”
In fact, Woodley, who read Green’s novel immediately after finishing the script, wholeheartedly includes herself among this fan base. At 23, she’s pretty much slap bang in the middle of Green’s target audience. But her enthusiasm and lack of cynicism are refreshing.
“I’ve never read a script where I laughed out loud as much as I did when I read it,” she says. “I felt, if I do this movie, it won’t be for me as an artist… it will be me, literally protecting the integrity of John Green’s original thoughts.”
Shailene reunited with The Fault in Our Stars co-star Ansel Elgort, director Josh Boone and author John Green yesterday for a special unveiling of a bench dedicated to the film on the Fox Studio Lot in Century City. I love this look for her!
With thanks to tfs, I’ve added scans of Shailene’s small feature in the current issue of InStyle to the gallery. Along with other names including Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Pharrell Williams, Shailene speaks out on a causes that is very close to her heart–Food & Water Watch.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – Shailene Woodley is in negotiations to play the female lead in Oliver Stone’s untitled Edward Snowden drama.
Woodley would star opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is tackling the NSA whistleblower in the film, which will be distributed by Open Road in the U.S. The actress, who has become one of the most in-demand among the twentysomething set after a breakout 2014, is poised to play the role of Snowden’s girlfriend.
The Divergent actress has been picky about lining up her next project outside of that futuristic YA franchise (she already shot the sequel Insurgent for Lionsgate and is signed on for two more films based on the Veronica Roth books). After starring in one of the most profitable films of the year, Fox 2000’s The Fault in Our Stars, she has sat on the sidelines waiting for her next move.
The Stone-directed project is based on Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Time of the Octopus, the upcoming novel from Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena.
Harding’s nonfiction book traces Snowden’s move from Hawaii to Hong Kong, where he met with documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald and handed over top-secret NSA documents. Snowden later flew to Moscow, where he sought asylum. Kucherena’s take on the story is based on the lawyer’s time with Snowden while he waited in limbo at the Moscow airport before the Russian government decided to grant him asylum.
Wild Bunch had been preselling foreign rights to international buyers at the American Film Market last week in Santa Monica.
Stone is producing the untitled film with longtime producing partner Moritz Borman. The project is currently in preproduction in Germany with principal photography set to start in January.
Woodley is repped by Paradigm, Principato-Young and Felker Toczek.
Shailene had a big night at the Hollywood Film Awards on Friday–she was the winner of the Breakout Performance award for her role as Hazel in The Fault in Our Stars. Many congratulations to our girl! She looked lovely in head-to-toe Valentino at the event, which was held at the Hollywood Palladium.