Shailene Woodley Explains Her Acting Process

There are about as many approaches to acting as there are actors. However, there are certain teachers whose methods have gained immense popularity over the years. Konstantin Stanislavski, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Lee Strasberg, Michael Chekhov, and Uta Hagan are amongst the most well-known acting teachers. And while some actors are loyal to specific methodologies, others, like Shailene Woodley, have an acting process that isn’t based on just one way of approaching the craft.

Shailene Woodley
Shailene Woodley | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

Shailene Woodley grew up doing movies and TV shows

Though Woodley has been acting since she was five, she doesn’t have much formal acting training. Instead of studying acting in college or at a conservatory, she developed her skills while on set. Shows like The O.C. and The Secret Life of the American Teenager helped her get practical experience and develop her skill set. Meanwhile, films like The Descendants helped her become sought after in the world of independent films.

‘The O.C’ actor reveals her unique acting process

Some actors, like Sydney Sweeney, take a very character-driven approach to their acting process and create unique memories for each character that they play. Others, like the retired Daniel Day-Lewis, take a “method” approach and really put themselves in the situations that their characters have experienced. Woodley, however, does neither. In an interview with Flaunt Magazine, she revealed that her acting process is rooted in being prepared and present.

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“I’m not one of those actors who feels like they need to get in character, to do any sort of method acting situations,” Woodley explained. “For me, it’s all about learning my lines, showing up on time, and professionally listening to what others are saying, and then authentically and truthfully reacting off of their expressions. So, it’s easy to drop roles, because I don’t feel like I acquire them to begin with.”

Woodley does a full astrological chart for each of her characters

While Woodley’s acting process feels very straightforward, there’s one thing that she does that’s a bit unorthodox. Woodley actually builds a full astrological chart for each of her characters. This, she feels, helps her to get into the mind of her characters and understand their personalities better. Since she started studying astrology herself and learning about her own chart, she can’t help but follow suit for her characters.

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For her part, Woodley knows that her love of astrology may come across as a bit “woo-woo” but she doesn’t let it phase her. She thinks it’s really cool and helpful in her personal life and in her acting process. In conversation with The 92nd Street Y, she doubled down on her study of the stars.

“To me, astrology just gives you permission to be yourself without judgment,” Woodley proclaimed. “That’s what I’ve been able to help build my characters from.”

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