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Shailene Woodley: It Was Difficult to Get Back Into Playing Tris in Insurgent

Shailene Woodley acquired a “been there, done that” mentality going into the Divergent sequel, Insurgent, but she quickly realized that some extra new effort was required.

“Getting back into Tris was much more difficult than I anticipated because I didn’t take into account that I, myself, had grown for a year,” Woodley told reporters during Friday’s press day for the new film in Los Angeles.

“I figured getting back into [Tris] would be simple because I would just go back into that mindset, but my personal mindset had progressed a year in evolution,” she says.

While playing Tris again may have been a challenge, the actress, 23, couldn’t wait to get back to doing her own stunts.

“[In] the first movie, we did a lot of choreography and fight training, and this one was basic sort of fitness – there wasn’t anything too intense,” says Woodley, who jumped from a moving train in the first movie and this time had to learn how to climb her way up onto a flying house in Insurgent.

And if you’re wondering how she – and maybe four or five other short-haired – pulled this off?

“We were on wires and we would slide down, and there was one where it was almost a 90-degree angle,” Woodley says.

“I was like, ‘If I don’t grab this pole, I’m not going to get hurt, but I’m going to be dangling in the air and probably get a really bad wedgie,’ so that was pretty fun,” she adds with a laugh.

When you’re as beautiful as Woodley, finding equally handsome on-screen lovers could get a bit tricky, but Theo James – who plays her boyfriend, Four, fit into that role perfectly.

“One of the reasons [Tris and Four] fell in love so deeply was because [their relationship] was grounded in truth and respect and authenticity, and it wasn’t based on surface level or physical attraction or infatuation,” says Woodley.

“It’s great to have a platform for, not only younger girls, but for everyone to recognize that relationships can be based in truth and be vulnerable, and that keeping somebody at arms length [is a personal defense] to protect our own inner vulnerabilities – not because of anything that they’re doing,” she adds.

James, 30, couldn’t agree more, telling reporters that he “likes the fact that they have mutual respect for one another.”

He adds: “Her femininity doesn’t detract from his masculinity, and the other way around.”