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Shailene Woodley rocks ‘Divergent’ with co-star Theo James

After months of anticipation, it was exciting to see Shailene Woodley rock “Divergent” with co-star Theo James. The film just hit theaters (March 21, 2014), and we were fortunate to see the cast at Comic-Con, where we captured magic moments on video. We have not read the book and will not give movie spoilers here, but watch our video for clues: VIDEO: Divergent Cast at Comic-Con.

Divergent Cast Photos with Shailene Woodley
Divergent Cast Photos with Shailene Woodley
Liz H Kelly
Theo James and Shailene Woodley rock Divergent
by Liz H Kelly

What makes this film even more exciting is to see another female protagonist who is smart, sexy and bold, similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss role in “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” We’ve watched Shailene go from “The Descendants” (Academy Award Nominee whose dad was played by George Clooney) to “Spectacular Now” (with co-star Miles Teller, who is also in “Divergent”) to “Divergent” (with heart throb Theo James). With three hits in a row, it’s no surprise that Hollywood is calling her the next big screen superstar.

When asked how does it feel to play a superhero in “Divergent', Shailene, confessed, “I never saw her (Tris) as a superhero or action star. I saw her as a very normal, young woman who had to figure herself out as well as help the community around her.”

The movie “Divergent” is set in futuristic Chicago, where everyone is divided into five factions based on virtues, including: bravery (Dauntless), selflessness (Abnegation), honesty (Candor), intelligence (Erudite) and peacefulness (Amity).

Author Veronica Roth described the factions in her book, “Everyone in the city has to fit into one of those five groups. And the story is about a young woman named Tris who grows up in the selfless faction (Abnegation) where she feels stifled and has to choose where she wants to go and she feels this nudge towards Dauntless, which is the brave faction, but joining it would mean leaving her family behind forever so the book is about her choice and it’s consequences.”

When Tris chooses “Dauntless” (brave faction), there are many plot twists including the fact that she must leave her parents forever (Tony Goldwyn, “Scandal”, and Ashley Judd). Tris can no longer play the helpful person in Abnegation, and has to learn to fight and defend (with a little help from her co-star Theo James).

When the story elevates, Shailene added, “What I really loved about Tris is that she was in a situation and she rose to the occasion and found the bravery and courage within herself to help those around her as well as help herself.”

And fortunately, Theo James (Four) is there to get Tris over a few initiation milestones. He teaches Tris how to fight for her survival, and their romance just keeps getting better throughout the story. Theo described Four with his British accent this way, “He’s quite old school,…and he’s not afraid to demonstrate what he’s afraid of, and I think, ironically that makes him more masculine and tougher in a funny way…”

When we first met Shailene at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival promoting “Spectacular Now” with Miles Teller, we immediately became a big fan. Similar to Tris, Shailene is so real that she doesn’t like to wear makeup. While presenting an award to Shailene, Miles described her this way, “Shailene is so not Hollywood that it’s refreshing…She is so completely honest to who she is.” He then added, “She’s exceptional and will be around for a long time. I’m lucky to have her as a friend.”

And we are all so lucky to have Shailene Woodley on the big screen playing a powerful female character with a heart. And we agree with Miles, she “will be around for a long time.” Congratulations Shailene and the “Divergent” cast and crew on your hit!

© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist and Goody Awards

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