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In a new interview, Divergent star Shailene Woodley happily draws a clear line between her film and The Hunger Games. It’s part of the reason why she was drawn to the project.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly for their cover story on the book to film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, Woodley reveals she almost didn’t take the part. “My agents were like, ‘Are you F—ing crazy?’ But I said if this movie is successful, things will change and I don’t want that.”

After spending a night speaking with her mother and The Descendants director Alexander Payne, she decided to take the role. “What I like about Tris is that she isn’t perfect. She’s not a super-hero — she’s not Katniss. She doesn’t know how to shoot a bow and arrow, she’s not a badass by nature. And I really responded to her and Four’s relationship. It’s authentic and human and genuine.”

When it comes to the Divergent fandom, Woodley tries to keep herself removed from it. “I don’t read any of that stuff. I actually forget there’s a fan base. But then I’ll talk to a publicist who’ll say, ‘If this turns out to be a Twilight or a Hunger Games, this or that may happen.’… But you can’t think like that.”

Woodley also spoke about Theo James, who she describes as “The perfect Four.” The duo connected over their thoughts on Hollywood. “We’re not into the industry and have separate lives outside of it. That’s refreshing. I don’t know what I would do if Four was played by someone who cared what he looked like or spent more time in front of the mirror than I do.”

You’ll definitely want to check out the ten high-res photos from Divergent which premiered yesterday. They include our first looks at Woodley and James together in scenes as Tris and Four.

  • GinnyWeasley002

    Love it! She’ll be fantastic! I hate when people try to say that Tris is just a ‘rip off of Katniss’ Gah.

  • Emilie

    Katniss has never been a superhero by nature, she’s been manipulated and forced by circumstances and people to take a position of ‘leadership’. I don’t understand where Shailene Woodley is making comparisons, it doesn’t make any sense.
    Katniss is most certainly not badass by nature either. She does what she has to do to keep her and her loved ones alive.

    • Undesirable

      I agree totally but i also see Shailenes point to an extent. She was more saying that Tris doesnt have any sort of skills to help her along other than being Divergent. Katniss knows how to shoot and survive but Tris really has nothing like that.

      • Anne

        Tris did learn to shoot a gun and fight well pretty quickly, didn’t she? Like it was second nature her. Katniss hunted to feed her family, she wasn’t a Career. Theo nly thing Shailene got right was saying Tris is not Katniss, but her characterization is dead wrong.

    • Alis

      you’re so right i mean to me katniss looks more human and more realistic that tris.
      I think that that is one of the most beautiful aspects of katniss that she dont want to take this leadership roll an that shows how human she is .

  • Jenna

    Wow she clearly hasn’t read Hunger Games if she thinks Katniss is a “super hero” or badass just because she could hunt. Tris and Katniss are very different characters, but not for that reason. Bu oh well, her opinion of hunger games won’t affect how well she plays Tris.

    (Spoilers) I enjoyed Divergent/Insurgent but there were so many things about it just on a psychological level that prevented me from getting into it. If the social experiment revealed in the 2nd book was in any way realistic most of the population would be divergent. When I read about the factions in the first book I didn’t believe for a second that most of these people would fit so neatly into each stereotype. I actually have high hopes for the movie though, maybe they’ll be able to make it more realistic.

    • http://benchpressabear.tumblr.com Joan

      When I read Divergent/Insurgent, I always saw the faction system as a way of portraying how close minded people (and society as a whole) had becomed, to the point that they had to be secluded by “world views” just so they could co-exist. Almost like an exaggerated version of intolerance. I don’t think most people necessarily fit neatly into any faction. I think a lot of conditioning went into that , especially for the younger generations. I see divergency as open-mindedness, really. If divergency started to resurface again, in big numbers, to me its mean that there’s a chance to restore what was lost in the process.

      • Jenna

        You make a good point about them becoming close-minded. I thought the same at first, and that conformism was why a lot of the people went along with the factions. But the huge flaw there is in the private tests they take to determine where they belong. I don’t think it’s believable at all that people would be so black and white in their choices and test results. Tris’ decisions were realistic in that she ended up being able to fit in with a few of the factions. All that said, they’re still good books and I’m excited for the third to come out.

        • http://benchpressabear.tumblr.com Joan

          The aptitude test is part of the manipulation from the people that set up the faction system, though. The test was designed in a way where one choice automatically discarded another faction. The Divergent peeps bypass that kind of manipulation. They have the potential to not be as easily control (which is the part that makes them a “threat” to the system). I don’t see it as a huge flaw when people within that society have been conditioned to grow, live and think a certain way. Each person is the product of their environment (for the most part). We are shaped by other people and our experiences, one way or the other. Look at Tris: She has apitude for 3 factions that can be traced back to her parents “root” factions (Dauntless + Erudite) and the one she grew up in (Abnegation).

          Plus, even as it is, the test system is not perfect. We know there a lots of Divergents whose aptitude test came out normal. Four, for example: his results came out as Abnegation, even though he is Divergent.

  • http://benchpressabear.tumblr.com Joan

    I think Tris isn’t a Katniss carbon-copy, not necessarily for the reasons Shai mentions, but for the fact that I think Tris has a bit of Slytherin in her. [And I meant that as a compliment. I'm a Slytherin myself.] Also, Katniss was always a reluctant hero, the circumstances pushed her to become the “face” of the rebellion and do everything that came with that. In many ways, Katniss play a role, like an actress. In that sense, I think Tris embraces the leadership role and her “mission” in ways that Katniss never could. Tris’ personality, her character traits, allow her to do that. They both got a lot of fight in them, I think. The fight just stems from different places.

  • Glaciusx

    Shailene Woodley pisses me off. Honestly, don’t speak about things unless you know what the hell you’re talking about. Katniss is not a superhero by nature. How could you even think that? She had to be the provider for her family once her father died since her mother completely shut down. It was unfair but she had to either grow up or starve. There is nothing natural about that. I still remember a while back when she was talking about the casting of Four, saying she didn’t want any “feminine actors”…..like, just stop and sit down. /endrant

    • denise

      Agree. When she was going on that actor casted as Four has to be a manly man and all testoterone, i’m like, shut up. Idc that she got Katniss so wrong, that’s probably why she didn’t get the role, thank God. But for her to also not understand Tris…well, good luck divergent fandom.

  • zara

    ha! I knew this would garner negative attention from people, I don’t think she meant any harm but she needs to explain things a little better. hopefully, they send her to media training class before divergent promo officially starts.

  • Alex Smith

    “She’s not a badass by nature”
    Uhh… isn’t that the entire point of the book? That Tris is Divergent (and therefore, pretty badass BY nature)?!

    • Antara Chowdhury

      Erm, I don’t think all Divergent people are badass, are they? I thought Divergent just meant that they don’t fit neatly into one of the factions. If someone is really smart and into education, but also extremely selfless, falling into both the Erudite and Abnegation factions, they could be Divergent. It has nothing to do with badassery.

      • Alex Smith

        Really? I thought Tris herself was the one who didn’t fit and then she CHOSE the Divergent faction… It’s not cause she didn’t fit anywhere else. The Divergent faction always was doing badass shit (at least from what I remember. Only read the first book, about a year ago) like jumping from rooftops onto trains, jumping off rooftops into darkness. Divergent was characterized AS the badass faction imo, whether they called themselves that or not lol

        • Antara Chowdhury

          Oh, I think you’re confusing “Divergent” with “Dauntless.” Tris chose the Dauntless faction. Everyone in that faction is supposed to be brave and tough. They all have to undergo training and learn how to fight, but not everyone makes the cut. Some people, even after they choose Dauntless, don’t get to join. I think the key word here is “choose.” Shailene said Tris isn’t badass by nature. She is brave and tough by nature, but badass in this sense, like having survival or fighting skills, is something Tris had to learn along the way, after she chose Dauntless.

          • Alex Smith

            ahhhhhhhhh my bad :P After I posted my last message I thought I might be off on my facts but wasn’t sure and didn’t look it up :X. I agree with what you’re saying.
            I think Tris is more “badass by nature” than Katniss tbh. Tris chose to join the Dauntless faction. Katniss was forced into the Hunger Games and was clever enough to survive it (I say clever because it was more her head than her bow that helped her win IMO)

  • Ivana Cvetanovic

    I understand that people sometimes try to put down another character/franchise to make their own look better, but I still don’t think it’s a good idea; and if you’re doing it, at least try to make sense. Her comments sound really ignorant, as if her knowledge about The Hunger Games comes from an article that praises Katniss as “badass”.

    And she doesn’t seem to know what a “superhero” is. A superhero is someone who has superpowers, i.e. powers that regular humans don’t have. Knowing how to shoot an arrow well is not a “superpower”. By that logic, any cop or soldier who can shoot a gun really well is a superhero, not to mention the Olympic shooters. Katniss doesn’t don a cap at night and go fight to save strangers. She’s just a girl from a poor background that learned to hunt from her dad and later had to hunt with a bow and arrow to feed her family, because they would starve otherwise. All she was trying to do in the first book/movie was survive, protect her family and protect those she had come to care about.

    • Lia

      Shailene wasn’t trying to put down katniss or the hunger games to make divergent look better. What she meant was katniss had various skills before entering the hunger games, whereas tris had none. I agree it came off as ignorant which is ironic because she auditioned for katniss, so she should of known that character through and through. Shailene is not a very articulate person, she means well but always comes across as airheaded due to her idiotic comments. What she needs is media training especially because she will have to answer to THG and divergent comparisons in the near future.

  • Antara Chowdhury

    Shai just made a poor choice of words. I think she just meant that while Katniss had some skills before entering the Hunger Games, like being able to shoot a bow and arrow, Tris had no physical skills before joining the Dauntless faction. She had to train and learn how to fight.

    • Denise

      But being able to shoot bow and arrows doesn’t make katniss a superhero or badass by nature. Katniss hunted to feed her family, it was her trade. Tris jumped trains, ziplined high towers, and learned to fight and shoot guns in a short period of time and be REALLY GOOD at them. She got it backwards.

      • Antara Chowdhury

        I think it just depends on how you interpret it. I see your point, but many people associate archery as a “superhero” skill, because of Green Arrow and Hawkeye. Even though Katniss hunted to feed her family, it’s a skill she had prior to entering the Hunger Games, that she was able to use to defend herself and save lives. While jumping trains and ziplining from high towers is badass, it’s not really a survival skill. Tris did learn how to fight and shoot guns, but that was after entering the Dauntless faction, and she wasn’t good at it right away.

  • Megan

    I think she simply meant that Katniss has that superpower nature, that she will always protect the people she loves, that she’s a fighter, even if she doesn’t want to be. It comes naturally to Katniss. Katniss might not want to be the leader of the rebellion, but she is because she has the quality that so many superheroes do. She has a way of leading people, caring for them, saving them, and also able to protect herself in ways that so many can’t. I don’t think Shai was insulting Katniss by saying this at all.

    Tris, on the other hand, is not like that. She doesn’t have the calming leadership role that Katniss does. She has to practically force her way to the top, she has to choose Dauntless, she has to fight to be seen as something of a hero and badass. No one thinks of her that way, she doesn’t have it naturally like Katniss does. They’re different characters and I think that’s all Shai was trying to get at. Maybe it was a pour choice of words, but I totally get where she was coming from.

    • Marianne

      Katniss’ Mockingjay persona was manufactured by the rebellion, it is not a superpower nature, or is protective instincts. By that account, then Tris is also a superhero. Tris chose to be Dauntless and is divergent, her badassness comes naturally. Didn’t Four say fear wakes her up not shut her down? Didn’t Roth herself described Tris to be both vulnerable and BADASS effortlessly? It seems Shai doesn’t understand both characters intimately.

      • Megan

        You’re taking it as a slam against Katniss that she was “made” to be the superhero and thus is. I like Katniss more than Tris and I don’t see it as a slam, at all. Katniss might have been manufactured to be the hero, but Peeta and Gale and everyone around her said it was because of who she was, her personality already called for it. She could lead people. She gave them hope. Not all superheroes have to just be “badass”. Certainly, that is a quality, and it’s a quality Katniss has naturally and Tris later has to learn, but I’d wager that Katniss has the quality to lead people better than Tris does. Tris is a lot more hot tempered and fights with people. Not saying Katniss doesn’t, but I’d rather have Katniss as a superhero “leader” than Tris, in terms of badass-ery and personality. I like both characters, but I totally understand where Shai is coming from with this.

        • Marianne

          I don’t think she made it as a slam, I just think she made a very poor comparison that in no way accurately describes either characters at all. Shai said Tris is not badass by nature, and in the context of what she said, she was implying Katniss was. By your explanation on the two characters, which I happen to agree with, it just proves Tris was the one who is badass by nature (and she did some pretty cool badass things) and Katniss a reluctant hero. The way you explained it is not what is coming off what Shai said, that’s all.

          • Megan

            But all of the bad ass stuff, Tris has to learn. She’s not good at it. Katniss already is. Her ability to shoot a bow and arrow, and hunt, and all the other stuff she does, is why she wins the Hunger Games. What I really love about THG is Katniss has the role that is often given to males and Peeta has the role that is often given to females.

            Tris is much more in line of a female having to learn to be badass, and then Four already is. They seem a lot more typically female/male in most genres. Katniss is different than that.

  • Liderc

    People getting angry over nothing. She has a point, Katniss looks like a superhero in the movie, she’s able to survive against people who have trained their entire lives to win the hunger games, yet she comes out on top despite all of this. She is highly intelligent, strong, and willing to do anything to survive. That’s why Shailene said her character isn’t like Katniss, because Katniss appeared to be infinitely better than everyone else.

  • Ysabel

    Katniss is better. Tris was OBVIOUSLY based off of her

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