#INTERVIEW: MR. WILL CHATS WITH SHAILENE WOODLEY & THEO JAMES OF “DIVERGENT”
The irony of tonight’s Divergent Toronto Advance Screening is that Fans were anything but unalike. Whether they call themselves Initiates or Priorities, they were united in their ardent support for what has been pegged the next breakout Young Adult Franchise. Following in the footsteps of The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games Series, this first Adaptation of Veronica Roth‘s best-selling Trilogy, not only is led by two of Hollywood’s brightest Rising Stars in Theo James and Academy Award Nominee Shailene Woodley, but it also boasts an impressive Supporting Cast which includes Tony Goldwyn, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q, Ansel Elgort and the always phenomenal Kate Winslet.
Taking place at Scotiabank Theatre, tonight’s Premiere saw a multitude of Media and Fans waiting on Divergent‘s two Stars in a later scheduled start time than normal. After flying-in from the Chicago leg of their Press Tour, both James and Woodley were greeted with a cool, collective cheer amidst this pestering Extreme Cold Alert. The former brought forth pure British sophistication to this side of the Atlantic in a smart three-piece Suit, while the latter sported proudly her new Pixie locks, pairing a green sweater over a button-down and shimmery black pants – reminding us indeed we were at a Red Carpet Affair. Fans demanded hugs from their Hero and Heroine and some were lucky enough to get theirs!
Divergent centers around 16-year-old Tris Prior (Woodley), who like all others her age must choose which Faction she wishes to belong to, living in a Society divided by personality types. Tris decides she wants to join the Dauntless Faction, known for its bravery, but of course with this comes dangerous risks. She then learns that she’s actually Divergent, meaning she’ll never purely belong to any one distinct Faction and this could cause an issue or two.
I ask Woodley, what it is that she looks for when she chooses a role. She says, “It’s a physical reaction when I read a script. If I get butterflies, then I know it’s something to fight for”. We learned also that her Pal, Jennifer Lawrence, actually encouraged her to sign aboard the Franchise after some hesitations initially. “She definitely encouraged me to take this on – she said ‘There’s lots of beautiful things which could come from a Franchise like this!'”.
On Toronto, which she last visited in 2011 for the Toronto International Film Festival with eventual Academy Award-winning The Descendants, she tells me that this actually is a City she’s quite fond of, drawing parallels to the Big Apple. “I love Toronto and one of my Best Friends is from Ontario”, she tells us, “I spent some time here as a Child”. “The City feels like a clean New York. There’s something refreshing about it.”.
Hailing from Oxford, James with his refined talent and good looks is on the verge of major recognition stateside. On the decision to cast him in the coveted Four role opposite Woodley, he walks me through the day he discovered the news which could well change his life forever. “Well, I was working in Florida. I heard the news and looked around and there was no one to celebrate with, so I went to a bar with no one to celebrate with but myself”, he remembers. “It was Rock ‘n’ Roll!”. Things aren’t stopping any time soon for the Actor, who appears alongside Johnny Depp in London Fields and Richard Gere in Franny next.
Watch Mr. Will‘s Chats with James and Woodley below:
eOne Films release DIVERGENT on Friday, March 21, 2014.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Christina Miguel)