Shailene Woodley is back as Tris, the heroine of Allegiant, the third installment in The Divergent post-apocalyptic young adult franchise based on the megapopular novels by Veronica Roth.
The 24-year-old actress likened the reunion of castmates — Zoe Kravitz, Theo James and her The Fault in Our Stars costar Ansel Elgort (as her brother) — to getting a band back together.
“It’s always nice to work with people you’ve worked with before,” said Woodley from the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel. “There’s an immediate relatability that you wouldn’t have with new people — a sense of comfort and camaraderie. There’s also a strong passion for the project and story lines and to retain the characters we built.”
Shooting No. 3 was like starting up a well-oiled machine (a fourth and final film, Ascendant, is in pre-production). The stars pretty much knew what to do and how to prep.
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“There was more intense training in the first Divergent,” explained Woodley, who reeled in big screen audiences with her 2011 dramatic turn as George Clooney’s teenage daughter in The Descendants. “You just kind of have to make sure you’re physically fit. I think we’re all savvy when it comes to our bodies and we know what to do. We know what to do to make us feel good and keep ourselves healthy.”
So, nice — no cutting out carbs or sweets was required. The native Californian said she basically ate more or less what she wanted.
“Unless you’re playing a character that’s meant to be like really thin because of something or really big, I just feel that it’s no one’s business what you do outside of [the production].”
Like the first two Divergents, the special effects are fierce. The dystopian society from which the warriors are trying to break free (specifically, Chicago) is full of awesome sights such as imaginative weaponry and aircraft not yet invented.
Woodley was duly impressed with the final product.
“It’s always weird when you do these films because you’re working with so many green screens and so many external elements that you don’t know quite what it’s going to look like,” she said. “You instill a lot of trust in the director and special effects coordinator and editor to create a final product that does justice to the work you’ve done as an actor.”
One of Woodley’s favorite takeaways from the experience was getting to work with franchise newcomer Jeff Daniels, who plays the baddie leader of the so-called Bureau of Genetic Welfare, which has taken up residence at the former O’Hare airport.
“He was wonderful to work with, for sure,” she said. “He’s someone who’s been able to dial in comedy — also working on stage, in dramatic films, television shows — and really run the gamut and explore all the different facets of acting. It’s inspiring.”