While promoting her upcoming movie, The Spectacular Now, at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Shailene was questioned about her role as Divergent‘s heroine, Beatrice “Tris” Prior. While comparing the novel’s big-screen adaptation to that of some other well-known series, she admits that she was reluctant to latch onto the project. She tells Josh Horowitz, “I read the book, and I thought that it was really — my whole thing, to be honest, is I never wanted to do big films. I’ve been acting for 16 years, and it was never something that I wanted to do, to be in a big blockbuster film, especially one that was similar to Hunger Games or Twilight. You know, one that had a huge pre-existing fanbase and something that would carry on for multiple years.”
However, Divergent author Veronica Roth‘s words inspired her to see it through: “After I read the book, I was really profoundly moved, and it’s really metaphorical for things that are going on today, specifically things that I’m passionate about and things that I want to make public and things that I want to educate people on. So I think it’s a really great platform, not only artistically, but just from a human level of being able to expose kind of these messy, nasty things that are going on in our country.”
As for her love interest, Tobias (a.k.a. Four), Shailene mentions that they’re still currently in the screen-testing phase of casting the character: “We have been doing some tests. We’ve been doing some auditions… There are a few in particular — two guys — that I think are really great.” The traits the ideal Four needs to have, according to Shailene: “No feminine actors, please… You need to walk in there, and you need to not have muscles that look good, but don’t actually work. There’s been a few guys that have this power about them. It’s a natural masculine power that some people have and some people don’t… This character needs to be extremely masculine, and his eyes need to scream vulnerability and sensitivity. It’s really hard to find in a dude, especially a dude who can act.”
For more of Shailene’s interview, watch the video below! What do you think of the Secret Life actress as Tris? Who should play Four? Tell us all your Divergent-related ideas in the comments or on our Divergent message board!