Shailene Woodley takes the cover of this week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter. She’s promoting her role as Tris in Divergent. The first time I really noticed Shailene was when she showed up to support The Descendants at the 2012 Oscar ceremony. At the time, she insisted that acting wasn’t her thing and that she was studying to be an herbalist. Make no mistake that acting is her “thing,” but she’s also very serious in her obsession with nature. Kaiser has covered all sorts of granola-crunching interviews where Shailene talks about adapting to an indigenous lifestyle and gathering her own spring water every month. All of that sounds perfectly exhausting. I admire Shailene’s effort to live her own way, and she’s certainly not hurting anyone.
What I do take issue with is that Summit Entertainment (the same studio behind Twilight) is trying to fashion Shailene as the next Jennifer Lawrence. The Hollywood Reporter piece sounds straight out of a PR person’s mouth: “It’s that unique accessibility — both onscreen and off — coupled with raw acting talent that has made Woodley one of the most hyped starlets since Jennifer Lawrence prepared to launch The Hunger Games franchise two years ago.” Hmm … accessible? Not in all those interviews. The mag insists that JLaw and Shailene’s “career trajectories are similar” because they both did indie films before moving on to YA franchises. Oh, and they both got short haircuts last year! I added that last detail for fun. Here are some interview excerpts:
She hesitated to do Divergent: “Having come off a TV show, I was kind of in the place where I was like, ‘I’m never signing a contract for more than one movie,’ because once you do sign a contract, legally, you’re liable. [Even] if you don’t find something creatively stimulating anymore, you’ve still got to do it legally.”
She lost I Am Sam to Dakota Fanning: “My dad pulled me aside, and he said: ‘Shai, what are you doing? You have so much anger, and you’re feeling so let down by the fact that you didn’t book [this]. I want you to close your eyes right now and picture this Dakota girl, and I want you to send her so much love and so much light because one day you’re going to book something that you really want, and you’re not going to want all of the girls around you that you competed against to feel anger against you. You’re going to want them to support you on your journey. And so it’s your turn right now to support Dakota on her journey.’ And so I did that.”
She only wears second-hand clothing: “Kitson? Yeah, that’ll never happen. I exclusively buy used clothes,” she says, referring to the Robertson Boulevard boutique favored by attention-starved “stars.” “I’m going to be a citizen of this planet, and I’m going to do my responsibility and live in stride with nature instead of constantly fighting against her.”
She makes an exception for red carpets: “I realized this garment is going to be used over and over and over again. If I was to show up wearing my five-toe shoes, my Melodia organic leggings and some hippie top, no one is going to take me seriously, and I probably would not be doing this interview right now for The Hollywood Reporter. When I go on a red carpet, I’m Shailene, but I’m also Shailene representing a movie. I’m there for my boss, for my employer, so part of that comes with wearing the uniform.”
Her Navajo pendant:“It’s my way of just recognizing spirit — as hippie as that may sound — in an industry where sometimes materialism is the main focus, it’s kind of my way of grounding and remembering what’s important to me. My religion is the Earth, man. I believe in trees.”
Nudity is cool: “When somebody’s doing a sex scene and they’re wearing a bra and underwear, that’s not how it happens in real life. If I’m going to say yes to a movie where this is necessary, then I’m going to bring truth to that situation.”
Is she in a relationship? “I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are.”
Oh, the pressure: “I made five movies in the past year and two months and finished a TV show during that time. The second your boss or somebody whom you really respect comes to you and says, ‘I can’t wait to see what you do next,’ there instantly becomes this new pressure of, ‘Wow, am I creating art for myself or am I suddenly creating art for other people?”
[From Hollywood Reporter]
The magazine does concede that Divergent could flop, which is possible considering how many fans were upset by the third book’s ending. Then Shailene could be the next Lily Collins. I really don’t see the comparison between Shailene and JLaw’s personalities. One is sort of a hippie Goop who makes her own medicine and soap, and the other likes to chow down on Philly cheese steak while watching reality television. These two young women are nothing alike as far as I see. Similar career trajectories mean nothing, and they’ll mean even less after Divergent fails to score big at the box office. Deadline predicts a $50-60 million opening weekend, which is far less than Hunger Games $150 million opening take. We’ll see how this plays out in a few weeks.
Photos courtesy of Hollywood Reporter