Shailene Woodley: Jennifer Lawrence Convinced Me to Star in Divergent

Entertainment Mar. 7, 2014 AT 8:55AM
Shailene Woodley and Jennifer Lawrence Shailene Woodley tells The Hollywood Reporter that Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence convinced her to star in Divergent, telling her, "'You must do it.'" Plus, Woodley reveals that she doesn't "fall in love" based on gender. Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Kevork Djansezian/Getty

J-Law has the power of persuasion! In the March 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Shailene Woodley reveals that Hunger Games heroine Jennifer Lawrence was the one who convinced her to star in the upcoming film franchise 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," Woodley, who starred on The Secret Life of the American Teenager for five seasons, explained in THR. "[Even] if you don't find something creatively stimulating anymore, you've still got to do it legally."

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To convince his top pick for the lead role of Beatrice Prior, Lionsgate motion picture group co-president Erik Feig enlisted the help of fellow young franchise star Lawrence, THR reveals.

The 23-year-old Oscar winning actress reached out to Woodley, 22, in a series of emails. Lawrence, according Woodley, said: "'You must do it. You will not regret it for a second. Yes, there are some hard things, but there are so many beautiful things that will come from an opportunity like this.'"

Divergent star Shailene Woodley covers the March 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
Divergent star Shailene Woodley covers the March 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

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Apparently, the messages were received. Feig recalled: "I don't know what happened, but I do know that after that interaction, Shailene said: 'OK, now I'll make Divergent. Let's talk.'"

Divergent, based on Veronica Roth's trilogy, is (just like Hunger Games) set in a dystopic future, and director Neil Burger said Woodley can somewhat relate to her character. "It's funny because Divergent asks those questions, 'What if you're a little different in a society where everybody's the same?'" he explained. "Shailene is like that too, but not because she's flaky. She's as solid as a person can be, and she's incredibly present as an actor."

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Indeed, Woodley is very different from a typical Hollywood star her age. She told THR that she wears only used clothes, forages for fruit, and doesn't currently own a home, preferring a "vagabond lifestyle." She explained: "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."

Woodley has two close friends, an unnamed man and woman, who live the same lifestyle with her. When the Hollywood Reporter asked if she was romantically involved with her friends, Woodley said, "That's hilarious. No, those are my best friends." But added: "I fall in love with human beings based on who they are, not based on what they do or what sex they are."

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