Shailene Woodley: Why the 'Divergent' Actress Almost Said No to the Role of Tris

Pam WrightLife

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Shailene Woodley has become a household name thanks to starring roles in movies like The Descendants and The Divergent Series: Insurgent. However, the 23-year-old actress says she originally turned down the role of Tris.

The The Fault in our Stars actress told The Guardian she had misgivings about committing to a multi-film movie franchise.

"I was a little trepidatious saying yes to a franchise, simply because I’d just come off a television show (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) where I had a six-year contract," Woodley said. "So the thought of signing another four-year contract was quite daunting."

The award-winning actress, whose breakout role in The Descendent garnered her significant recognition, said she was content performing in lesser-known Indie films and never dreamed of becoming an A-list celebrity.

"Also I had said, growing up as a child actor, that I’d never be a part of a big studio franchise, because I never wanted that sort of recognition around the globe," Woodley admitted. "I liked doing smaller roles and I really just love acting because I like being on a movie set and that’s it. So I definitely had my doubts, but having said yes, I wouldn’t change it for the world."

After seeking advice from trusted friends and family, particularly mom Lori, Shailene Woodley ultimately agreed to bring the world the screen version of Tris, the beloved character based on the Divergent series of books.

"I asked advice from a lot of people I respected and ultimately my mom said, 'Well, Shai, you’re about to say no to this opportunity because of the budget on the film. If this was an independent film, would you say yes?'" remembered Woodley. "And I thought I would say yes, because I love Tris and I do love the storyline and the themes involved within this particular book."

Divergent went on to make more than $150 million in box office receipts and catapulted Woodley into the realm of megastar.

While the film has changed her life in many ways, Shailene Woodley said her fears about committing to the franchise were unfounded.

"The fear was loss of anonymity in a way, but I really haven’t lost much of my anonymity," said Woodley. "I can still live the life I’ve been living. I’m busier, but I would love to continue exploring and living this nomadic lifestyle."

The Divergent Series: Insurgent is scheduled to be released on March 20.

Pam Wright