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July 25, 2013

‘Divergent’ star Shailene Woodley on Comic-Con, ‘Spider-Man,’ napping

Posted in: Comic-Con,Movies

Shailene Woodley needs a nap.

It’s Friday morning in San Diego and the 21-year-old is slowly recovering from the previous day of Comic-Con International festivities where she and her cast mates presented the first footage of “Divergent” to screaming fans, danced to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” at an after party, and in between participated in a slew of press events. The madness came only 36 hours after director Neil Burger called it a wrap on the Chicago set of the film, which the studio will open next March as a hopeful new hit franchise for the young-adult audience.

But Woodley can’t rest yet. She’s leaving for a bicoastal press tour to promote her upcoming indie “The Spectacular Now,” which opens on Aug. 2 and will soon begin work on adaptation of John Green’s bestselling novel “The Fault in Our Stars.”

FULL COVERAGE: San Diego Comic-Con 2013

She’s regretful that her experience at the pop culture convention featured little fan interaction, being primarily confined to tinted town cars and minded press events.

Woodley claims she only saw one costume and never experienced the show floor. “I thought Comic-Con was going to be like Disneyland and Hollywood Boulevard on fire. Instead we saw lots of interiors of hotel rooms,” said Woodley. “I want to stay and see it, but I also want to see my family. I want to go take a nap.”

Shailene Woodley at the Hollywood Film Awards, where she received a Hollywood Spotlight Award for her work in "The Descendants," on Oct. 25, 2011. (Jay Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Shailene Woodley at the Hollywood Film Awards, where she received a Hollywood Spotlight Award for her work in “The Descendants,” on Oct. 25, 2011. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The young actress has done little resting since her role as the stubborn teenage daughter in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” caught the eye of Hollywood. Since that movie opened in 2011 the Los Angeles native has starred in three films, including Gregg Araki’s latest, “White Bird in a Blizzard.”

And she recently made headlines when her role as Mary Jane Watson in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ was cut from the upcoming film.

According to Woodley, she was only on the New York set of the “Spider-Man” sequel for three days, appearing in four small scenes. Her part was cut, she says, after director Marc Webb decided that her character introduction was getting lost in the film and contributing to an impossible 3 1/2 hour running time that obviously had to be trimmed.

“It didn’t make much sense to introduce such a vital woman from the comic series into this movie  where she would just get lost in the mix,” said Woodley, who appears to have no hard feelings. “Looking back on it now, and I talked to Marc about this, it shouldn’t have happened. The idea was to introduce her and then bring her back in the next one, giving people something to look forward to but based on the amount of footage they had, it didn’t make sense.”

Woodley was really happy to introduce the first footage of “Divergent” to an eager audience of fans of the Veronica Roth novels. The two-minute clip reel highlighted the physical challenges of the film, which tracks Woodley’s character Tris as she navigates a dystopian world that divides its society into factions according to people’s virtues. Her character is in danger since she shares characteristics with two different factions.

"Divergent" author Veronica Roth, actor Theo James, actress Shailene Woodley and director Neil Burger attend an event at San Diego's Comic-Con International on July 18, 2013. (Joe Scarnici / Getty Images)

“Divergent” author Veronica Roth, actor Theo James, actress Shailene Woodley and director Neil Burger attend an event at San Diego’s Comic-Con International on July 18, 2013. (Joe Scarnici / Getty Images)

In the clip Woodley jumps onto a train, drops some eight stories (with the help of a stunt double) into a net, and engages in some serious knife-throwing as her character learns the ways of her new faction, Dauntless.

“Considering they had to put it together while they were still filming, I thought it was amazing,” said Woodley of the clip. “It was nice to introduce the film. And it’s so fresh in our minds since we just finished shooting it. But it does feel a little bizarre to already be pitching it to audiences.”

– Nicole Sperling

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