“I just landed in New York!” exclaims a giddy Shailene Woodley. “I’m in the car coming from the airport and the skyline just appeared and I’m tearing up because it’s such a beautiful day!”
As far as movie stars go, the 22-year-old is one of the least affected actors around; a frank, perpetually optimistic aspiring herbalist who’s in tune with nature. That Woodley’s become one of the biggest names in Hollywood—thanks to Divergent—is surprising, to say the least. She’s become the go-to gal for silver screen adaptations of acclaimed YA novels, including The Spectacular Now and the aforementioned sci-fi franchise. Her latest film, The Fault in Our Stars, continues the trend.
Directed by Josh Boone and based on the novel by John Green, Fault centers on Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley), a teen who’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her only companion is an oxygen tank—that is, until she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a sick boy with a prosthetic leg, at a support group. Before long, the two fall madly in love. Things, however, get complicated when the love-struck duo are forced to confront their mortality.
In an in-depth conversation, Woodley spoke to The Daily Beast about the summer weepie, the importance of sisterhood, the first time she smoked weed, and much more.
The chemistry between you and Ansel in this film is really what sells it. What gave you the sense while making Divergent that you two could be an onscreen romantic couple—because that dynamic is very different.
It’s so different. The thing with Ansel is he came onto Divergent and it was a big cast and everyone else on the movie had acted in a lot of different things before and had a lot of on-set experience. Sometimes when you’re around people who have been on movie sets a lot, people seem to lose the excitement versus the art, and the ability to be on a film set. Ansel came in with these fresh eyes and this beautiful innocence and excitement for what it meant to be making a movie. We instantly connected, and before Fault even came around for him, we struck up a really close friendship and instantaneously became very brother-sister. We have such deep reverence and pride for one another. We’re completely different in almost every way, but are very intrigued by each other’s differences, so when Fault came around, there was a fault in Hazel and Augustus’s stars, but there wasn’t a fault in our stars because we had that deep respect for one another. In real life, I look at him with such admiration and such love, and when you apply that to the rules and regulations of what it is to be in love with somebody, the natural chemistry is able to exist.
Continue reading Shailene Woodley on ‘The Fault in Our Stars,’ That Nasty ‘Time’ Piece, and the F-Word
Shailene Woodley, in the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars, talked to TIME about sisterhood, revenge and her reasons for avoiding the “F” word: “I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance”
One of the hottest topics in Hollywood lately has been the ‘F’ word. Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Ellen Page and Lena Dunham have come out as feminists, while Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have said that they are not. (Katy Perry is on the fence.) And though many define feminism simply as equality between men and women politically, socially and economically, what constitutes the movement is up for debate among stars.
Shailene Woodley has previously been quoted on the importance of movies’ empowering messages for women. So we decided to ask the star of the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars about her views on feminism.
TIME: You’ve talked about before—with Divergent specifically, too—about being conscious of the kind of messages that you’re sending to young female fans when you’re taking on roles. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Shailene Woodley: No because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance. With myself, I’m very in touch with my masculine side. And I’m 50 percent feminine and 50 percent masculine, same as I think a lot of us are. And I think that is important to note. And also I think that if men went down and women rose to power, that wouldn’t work either. We have to have a fine balance.
My biggest thing is really sisterhood more than feminism. I don’t know how we as women expect men to respect us because we don’t even seem to respect each other. There’s so much jealousy, so much comparison and envy. And “This girl did this to me and that girl did that to me.” And it’s just so silly and heartbreaking in a way.
It’s really neat to see: there’s that new Judd Apatow [sic] movie coming out, The Other Woman, and that looks really good because I think it’s really neat that it shows women coming together and supporting each other and creating a sisterhood of support for one another versus hating each other for something that somebody else created.
TIME: So even though what they’re coming together for is to bring down a man…
SW: Yeah, but they create a sisterhood. And he did something wrong, and they’re, you know. They’re going to go after him for it. I think it’s great.
Not everyone agrees The Other Woman (which was not made by Judd Apatow) is so empowering. Some applaud the film for featuring strong female leads, while others argue that its egregious inability to pass the Bechdel test—a simple rule that questions whether two women in a film talk to one another about something other than a man—and its objectification of women is degrading.
Whatever her views on The Other Woman and feminism, Woodley has been lauded so far for selecting powerful female roles: both of her summer flicks, Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, pass the Bechdel test.