— Insurgent Movie (@InsurgentMovie) March 9, 2015
The U.S. government may believe that Edward Snowden is a criminal, but Shailene Woodley doesn’t.
In fact, the Insurgent star, who plays Snowden’s longtime dancer-acrobat girlfriend Lindsay Mills in Oliver Stone’s upcoming drama about the National Security Agency whistleblower, thinks he should be celebrated for his work.
“I define a hero as somebody, who against the judgment of other people, if they believe something will positively impact the world and they choose to do it and honor their integrity, that’s what I sort of consider a hero, no matter how big or mall a feat they create,” she told me this weekend while promoting Insurgent (in theaters on March 20). “And in that light, absolutely I think that Edward Snowden is a hero.”
Woodley hasn’t had the chance to talk to Mills or Snowden, but she’d like to.
“You are the epitome of the word selfless,” Woodley said of Snowden, who has been living in Moscow since seeking asylum there in 2013 after facing espionage charges in the U.S. for leaking the classified information to the press. “You did something knowing you wouldn’t be able to come home, knowing that your country would have very mixed feelings and yet your integrity on what you believe was right or wrong or should be public knowledge was more important to you than almost your own comfortability and the life that you had lived for so long. So I would like to say thank you to him.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the film as Snowden. Rounding out the cast are Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood and Nicolas Cage. Citizenfour, a documentary about Snowden and the NSA scandal, recently won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
On a less serious note, Woodley said she learned how to poll dance for the film for Mills’ YouTube videos showing off her performing skills.
“It’s so much fun,” Woodley said.
And so was filming Insurgent, the second of the four films in the Divergent franchise.
“Our director [Robert Schwentke] brought so much excitement to the set,” Woodley said. “And we were filming in Atlanta and it was the summer so there was a lot of sunshine and it felt like a really healthy way to make a movie.”
Theo James said the cast and crew felt “a little bit of liberation” making the second movie because “you’ve already set the world up.”
“The stakes are a little bit lower hopefully because you’ve vaguely achieved the first movie,” he said with a laugh (Divergent’s worldwide box office hit a whopping $288.8 million), adding, “So you get to push it a little bit more.”
Shailene Woodley has just one thing to say about her Insurgent co-stars.
“First off, they’re just really groovy ladies!” the actress gushed of her Insurgent castmates Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts when the three sat down with ET’s Brooke Anderson to talk social media and staying in shape for the highly-anticipated Divergent sequel.
And the affection goes both ways.
“She is mind-blowingly talented,” Watts said of Woodley. “She’s got that vulnerability but that ferocity as well.”
In the action-packed adaptation, Woodley plays Tris, a member of the Divergent faction, on the run from the oppressive Erudite government. The high-octane storyline necessitated fitness and totally commitment from the film’s leading lady.
“I wanted to do as many [stunts] as I possibly could, before insurance stepped in,” the actress told Anderson. “The great thing about stunts is that you get to basically skydive without the fear of your parachute not opening.”
The young cast members of Insurgent, Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and Miles Teller, started the franchise as relative unknowns, but that’s all changed as they’ve become big stars thanks to the Divergent series and other major movies like Whiplash and The Fault in Our Stars. But don’t expect to find Woodley on social media anytime soon.
“I feel like I don’t have enough time,” Woodley laughs. “It takes up so much time! And your poor thumb…like the dexterity of your finger, to constantly be scrolling on your phone…I only know how to do me.”
Shailene will be on Live with Kelly and Michael to talk about Insurgent on Monday, March 16th!
People Magazine has released a set of character posters from “Insurgent.” I have added Shailene’s to the gallery! You can also read a little scoop from Insurgent:
She’s baaaack! Shailene Woodley’s fearless Divergent Tris continues her good fight in the The Divergent Series: Insurgent, out March 20. “She’s fueled by the demons that haunt her,” Woodley tells PEOPLE of her character’s transformation in the second film in the series. “The loss of her parents and her friend [Will] make her feel like she is unstoppable in her quest for justice.”