When it comes to Shailene Woodley taking on the role of Tris Prior in the Divergent films, there have been many skeptics in the fandom, despite Veronica Roth herself giving her approval. Members of any fandom can be harsh and quick to judge (think backlash from Harry Potter and Hunger Games casting), so Entertainment Weekly has given fans five reasons to be optimistic about Shailene Woodley in the coveted role!
1. Woodley was one of the contenders to play Katniss in The Hunger Games: The role ultimately went to Jennifer Lawrence, of course, and Woodley has since admitted that the other actress was the right choice. She told MTV in March: “Yeah, I definitely auditioned. It wasn’t, like, a great audition. But I think that Jennifer Lawrence is perfect for that role.” Why is this a good thing? It means she’s familiar with the kind of audience Divergent will attract and that she’s prepared to take on the responsibility of playing a character that could draw lot of attention — media and otherwise.
2. She’s got cred as an actress: Okay, I know a lot of people will be scandalized by the fact that their potential Tris was also the star of The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But have you seen The Descendants? Woodley delivers a powerful performance as a drinking, cursing teen seething with resentment for her father. Imagine how hard it is to act as though you dislike George Clooney. The girl should have gotten an Oscar for that alone. Plus, she comes with a stamp of approval from Clooney himself: “She really elevates that role from a stereotype. You can write and direct it. But at the end of the day, someone has to play it.”
3. She’s committed to her TV show: Say what you will about Woodley or The Secret Life of the American Teenager, but even in the midst of all the hubbub surrounding The Descendants, Woodley stayed firmly committed to the ABC Family series for another two seasons. It has since been cancelled, but Woodley never made the move to ditch it herself in favor of her burgeoning film career. She respects her work, regardless of what anyone says. That’s who I want to see sign on to a franchise that has such lasting potential: someone who will stick with it through the end (which you know is going to be four movies) even if she gets higher profile offers. (There’s rumors E L James wants her for Fifty Shades of Grey…)
See the rest of Entertainment Weekly’s reasons for putting their trust in Shailene on the Shelf Life blog!