Click here to read my review of Divergent and here for Insurgent. I am obsessed with the story. They started on the screenplay last year. Now I guess they must be closer because Deadline is reporting that Shailene Woodley is the frontrunner to play Tris.
Deadline is as about as reliable as it gets in the business but at the same time, the business of giving yourself a role when you don’t actually have the role yet is growing exponentially in Hollywood and particularly in the case of YA dystopia film adaptations. That’s how I’m told Jena Malone secured Johanna in Catching Fire, and the same goes for Sam Claflin as Finnick, both leaking their own confirmations to media outlets even before they were even offered the parts. How does it work? The move backs off other possible contenders and it also, in the age of social networking and fan forums etc, tests the base. In Malone’s case, her gamble was worth it because Hunger Games fans overwhelmingly supported her selection. For Claflin it was less definitive but at the same time, if you dictate it to the fan early on, before they have a chance to get attached to someone else, more often than not they’ll fall in line.
I don’t know then if Woodley is just one of many they’re considering for Tris and her people boldly made a play for it so as to throw off the competition or if she’s legitimately the Tris the filmmakers are looking for but it’s the second high-profile film she’s been attached to in as many weeks -- she’s also negotiating to play Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man sequel (click here for a refresher). Sound familiar? It’s very similar to Jennifer Lawrence’s situation in that Woodley would be part of two major franchises. Lawrence has X-Men and Hunger Games. And she’s managed to separate the two completely. I don’t associate Katniss with Mystique at all. In fact, when I think of her as Katniss, I almost forget that she’s Mystique, and vice versa.
That’s the sign of a brilliantly played career move. And it’s easy to make plays like that with someone as talented as Lawrence is.
I’m not sure it would be the same for Woodley if she were to take on both Spider-Man and Divergent. No doubt she showed some talent in The Descendants. But, I mean, we can all agree that she didn’t throw down in The Descendants the way Lawrence did in Winter’s Bone, right? Winter’s Bone was a definitive declaration that Lawrence can carry all of it and was therefore the choice for Katniss even as she was doing some mutant-ing. I don’t know that based on what Shailene Woodley has shown us so far she’s capable of the same.