Shailene Woodley Nearly Rejected ‘Big Little Lies’ Because of the ‘Divergent’ Movies
Shailene Woodley may be young, but the talented actor has built up an incredibly impressive resume for herself. From starring in popular TV shows like The O.C. and The Secret Life of the American Teenager to offbeat movies like Endings, Beginnings that are almost completley improvised, Woodley has stacked her resume with a bevy of interesting projects. But, perhaps the biggest movies that Woodley has ever been a part of are the Divergent movies.
Based on Veronica Roth’s bestselling novels, Divergent and its subsequent sequels, Insurgent and Allegiant made Woodley a household name. Thanks to franchises like The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games Series, there was strong evidence that showed that popular young adult novels could become massive film franchises. When Woodley signed up to play the main character of the Divergent films, Tris Prior, she knew that the films had the capacity to change her life forever.
Why the final film in the ‘Divergent’ series, ‘Ascendant’, got canceled
Divergent did pretty well at the box office and garnered a dedicated fan base. Fans of the books were thrilled to see Woodley and the rest of the cast bring their favorite books to life and the movie did $288.9 million worldwide at the box office. But, unfortunately, as the series progressed, the momentum for the films began to wane. Insurgent did only slightly better than its predecessor at $297.3 million worldwide at the box office. And by the time the third film, Allegiant came out, the numbers dipped way down to $179.2 million worldwide.
The box office turnout for the final film was so low that it actually changed the trajectory of the fourth and final film in the series, Ascendant. The fourth film was set to be based on the second half of Roth’s final book in the series “Allegiant.” But, due to low numbers, the powers at be thought making it into a TV movie might be the best way to proceed. Naturally, Woodley and the rest of the cast weren’t thrilled about this new trajectory and when nobody could agree on terms, the fourth film was canceled.
Shailene Woodley nearly quit acting after the ‘Divergent’ movies
Not having the opportunity to complete Tris’ story certainly was a letdown for Woodley. In an interview with Net-a-Porter, the movie star revealed that she loved the Divergent films, but the way things ended was a difficult thing for her to experience. “The last one was a bit of a hard experience for everyone, and that was really what made me think I need to have some human experiences outside of this industry and fall in love with acting again, and Big Little Lies did that for me,” Woodley confessed.
But, even though Big Little Lies helped Woodley find her footing in the acting world again, she nearly turned down the opportunity altogether. After filming the Divergent movies, she was hellbent on taking some time off and wasn’t interested in joining any new projects. It wasn’t until her agents really pushed for her to read the script for Big Little Lies that she actually considered returning to acting.
What convinced Woodley to join the ‘Big Little Lies’ cast
“There was a point in my life, right before Big Little Lies, where I had hit a wall with acting,” Woodley revealed. “I felt it was time to do something different. I called my agents and said, ‘Please don’t send me any more scripts; I need to explore other avenues.’ They respected me and didn’t send me anything for almost a year until Big Little Lies. I didn’t know what it was or who was involved, I just said, ‘Thanks, I’m still not interested.'”
Woodley’s agents finally revealed the names who were attached to Big Little Lies and that was enough for Woodley to give the script a read. “I read it, fell in love with it, and Laura Dern, who I had worked with on The Fault in Our Stars, called me and that was really the push,” Woodley shared. We’re glad Woodley’s agents gave her the push she needed to return to acting. She’s done so much since Big Little Lies and we look forward to seeing what the talented actor brings to the table next.