Look at Shailene Woodley go! Last week it was reported that she was in talks to play Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and let’s not forget that before that she was rumored to be E.L. James‘ top choice as Anastasia Steele for Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, she’s being considered for another popular book character, and this time she could star in her own franchise!
According to Deadline, Shailene is in talks to play Tris, the protagonist of dystopian YA novel Divergent. The trilogy, written by Veronica Roth, has garnered comparisons to The Hunger Games for its strong heroine and future where all young people are divided into five factions. Here’s the official synopsis from Amazon:
In Beatrice Prior‘s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
The knee-jerk reaction on Twitter seems to be mostly negative, with users complaining that Shailene isn’t blonde like other desired frontrunners AnnaSophia Robb or Saoirse Ronan. As we already established with all the Fifty Shades of Grey casting bullshit about Ana’s blue eyes, such trivial matters as hair and eye color really are non-issues. Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence have taught us that you can go from brunette to blonde (or vice versa) while still looking natural. I have to give props to Twitter user @ALotMoreofMagic, who seemed pretty accepting of Shailene but pointed out that she has to have good chemistry with whoever plays her love interest Four. (You know that those casting rumors are gonna be as crazy as all the Finnick Odair hubbub of the past few months.)
Of course, we can’t help but compare Shailene to Jennifer. Partly because of the hair color issue, but also because people hated the idea of Jen as Katniss Everdeen when she was first cast. But she’s proven herself to be incredible in the role, and I believe that Shailene could do the same. Plus, I learned that Shailene had originally auditioned for Katniss. So she knows what it means not only to embody the protagonist of a dystopian YA novel, but also what expectations to meet as the young actress helming a franchise. I can completely see her as Tris swapping her Abnegation robes for black Dauntless wear, jumping onto moving trains, getting tattoos, and facing her worst fears.
The Hollywood Reporter also pointed out that there also aren’t any scheduling issues for Shailene to take on both Mary Jane and Tris, because her role is so small in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (leading into a larger part in the third movie) that she can shoot both. No word yet from Shailene via Twitter. Not surprisingly, her supporters have already uploaded manips to Tumblr of her ‘shopped with blonde hair. But this piece of art from Tumblr user clarysrunes is what has most convinced me so far that Shailene could play Tris:
Divergent will hit theaters on March 21, 2014.
Photo: Ian Wilson/WENN.com