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Shailene Woodley: Divinely Divergent

March 17, 2014

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By: Lynn Barker

If there is an apocalypse or a war, we want to be hanging out with Shailene Woodley! Besides being smart, pretty and friendly, in our recent interview, we found out that the Oscar-nominated actress knows how to survive off the land!  In Divergent, “Shai” plays Tris, a 16-year-old member of a post-war society divided into “factions” labeled for their human characteristics; Erudite (intelligence), Amity (peaceful), Abnegation (selfless) Dauntless (courageous) and Candor (truthful).

At age 16, young people can choose their final faction, either the one they were born into, or one of the others. Doesn’t sound so bad until you learn that if a test shows that you are “Divergent” meaning you don’t really fit clearly into any one faction, you are a threat to the Erudite folks who hope to take over the government from the Abnegation group. Tris was born to Abnegation, is secretly Divergent and chooses Dauntless all right before a war for control takes place!

Shailene Woodley at our interviewShailene Woodley at our interviewCourtesy of Lynn Barker

We spoke with Shailene in L.A. and found her to be a charming combo of all the “factions” and more. Check out what she had to say about action sequences, her cute co-stars, surviving an apocalypse etc..….

Kidzworld: Do you feel that you are very much like your character Tris? How are you different?  

  • Shailene: A lot of who Tris is resonated with me. Because I felt like, when I was her age, I was (struggling). I was raised by two psychologist parents who are the most beautiful, selfless people I’ve ever met. So, compassion and empathy were two things that were ingrained into my system, which is such a lovely gift. I feel like those are two lessons that often don’t get learned until later on in life.
  • As a teenager, my struggle was: how do I balance being empathetic and being compassionate towards my peers and also living my life for myself and not basing my decisions on those around me? And how do I live a life for my own experience, rather than people-pleasing? Tris sort of goes through that as well. She was raised in a faction where she had to be selfless, and yet she joins this other group that is sort of all about being selfish. She has to find a balance. I went through something similar, so that’s how I relate to her.
  • It’s also just being a very strong, empowered woman. I feel very strong and I live my life with a lot of integrity and I think Tris is similar. As far as being different? Tris has really long hair and it’s blonde, and I don’t anymore. So I guess that’s a difference. That was an awful joke. I feel like we are very similar. I don’t think there are a lot of differences between us.

Tris (Shailene Woodley) in dangerous trainingTris (Shailene Woodley) in dangerous trainingCourtesy of Summit Entertainment

Kidzworld: There was a report online that Jennifer Lawrence urged you to take this role. I’m wondering if that’s true? (Note: Shailene hasn’t actually met Jen yet. Their conversations were e-mailed)