“The Descendants” garnered five Golden Globes nominations including one for Shailene Woodley who received a best supporting actress nod. The 20-year-old plays Alexandra King, the eldest daughter of wealthy Hawaiian lawyer Matt King (played by George Clooney). Alexandra is instrumental in keeping her family together after her mother suffers from a boating accident leaving her father in charge of the family. Speakeasy talked with Woodley this morning about her nomination and what it’s like to go from playing a teenage mother to a teenage daughter.
When you found out you were nominated, whom did you call?
My mama. We are super close. She is in Texas right now a few hours ahead of me so she was awake and we talked for a little bit and that was exciting. I’m not not a morning person, I’m an in betweener. I can do it when it needs to be done but I definitely don’t wake up early if I don’t have to. But this was one of those times.
How did you respond when you learned of the nomination?
I was aghast, shocked, surprised, gratitude, excitement. It was like, “What, I was nominated?” Seriously this is so exciting.
How are you going to celebrate?
I have no idea, maybe take a bath? Maybe take a day off?
Does this nod change your perspective on acting?
I don’t know. I’ve never been down this road so it’s all new to me. I am going to take it day by day and I have amazing teachers in George [Clooney] and [“Descendants” director] Alexander [Payne].
You went from a young mother in “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” to a daughter in “The Descendants.” Which role is more difficult?
I don’t know if I would say if either are harder than one another they are just different and the writing style and tones are very different. So there’s a lot of things that go into play. I don’t know if there is any way to compare the two.
Are you looking to move into film full-time?
Film has been where my heart is since day one in this industry. I love that you get to be a character for a few months then disappear and be a different character but at the end of the day I made a commitment to “Secret Life” and its been so fun that of course carry out that commitment. I would love to continue to do more films but until I read a script that gives me butterflies I’m in no rush to do another project.
Both “The Secret Life” and “The Descendants” can be considered dramas. Is there a particular genre you are looking to do next?
Comedy would be a lot of fun. My biggest criteria is human scripts, scripts that make you feel. Whether you leave laughing or whether you leave crying, as long as they affect you and make you feel, with the characters being relatable and the story done in a raw human way, that is the perfect script.
How is physically preparing for a character in film different than TV?
It’s not really to be perfectly honest. I memorize my lines the night before, have them down and then show up on time to set. The main difference is on “The Descendants” you were still getting to know one another versus on “The Secret Life” we already all know each other. On “The Descendants” no one was ever in their trailer, they were on set hanging out joking around helping each other out and that was refreshing. It was nice to see an entire crew and an entire allotment of actors who were the same way.
Working with George Clooney, is there a particular impact that he has had on you?
George is the most grateful man I’ve ever met. Not the materialism of his life but grateful for the opportunities he’s been given through his success to help others and give back to others and I think that is such a special thing. He also is ridiculously incredibly generous. It’s such an honor to learn from someone who is so professional but also so witty and talented.
What’s something people may not necessarily know about you?
I love figs. Acting has always been one of my biggest passions but I have many other passions as well.
How are you going to go about handling the awards season craziness?
I think just continuing to be myself and be goofy and be grateful. I think gratitude is an important thing to always treasure and I especially think I have been given so much. I think as long as I stay super grateful how could I have a bad day?