Shailene Woodley Refused to Wear a Wig in ‘Insurgent,’ but Changed Her Mind for ‘Snowden’

Like many actors, Shailene Woodley has had a lot of different hairstyles, including wigs, in her various projects. When filming the Divergent sequel Insurgent, the director wanted Woodley to wear a wig, but she refused. However, Woodley took a different stance when it came to a later movie.

Shailene Woodley wouldn’t wear a wig for ‘Insurgent’

Insurgent is based on a book by Vanessa Roth. In the novel, Woodley’s character Tris has a shoulder-length haircut. For the first movie, Divergent, the star had longer hair that fit with her character. However, by the time the second movie got the green light, Woodley’s hair had changed, due to another project.

When filming began, Insurgent director Robert Schwentke requested Woodley to wear a wig to fit her character’s aesthetic. But she had a different look in mind. When promoting the Divergent Blu-Ray/ DVD release, Woodley told BuzzFeed that viewers would be seeing her pixie cut and not the long hair her character donned in the Divergent film.

She said, “I talked to the director because I didn’t want to wear a wig. I think wigs always look wiggy, especially in an action movie. We’re running so much and doing so much. I think technically, a wig would have looked quite s—–.”

Woodley began rocking the super-short look for The Fault In Our Stars, which she filmed between the Divergent and Insurgent films. So she planned to keep the look for the second film in the Divergent franchise. “I think it’s cool to have a young heroine with short hair,” she continued, calling the aesthetic “modern.” But her next film was a different story.

Woodley did wear a wig for ‘Snowden’

Snowden tells the tale of Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a whistleblower who outs the government using a Rubik’s cube for its surveillance program. Under the direction of Oliver Stone, Snowden carries heavy points about the current security programs and sparked serious debates about patriotism.

Woodley plays the titular character’s girlfriend Lindsay Mills, who he meets on a dating website. It is noteworthy that the movie is based on the real-life of Edward Snowden, a former computer intelligence consultant who leaked sensitive information to the public, and his now-wife, Lindsay Mills.

Because Mills has brown hair, the producers decided to have Woodley wear a wig to make her look like the real-life Mills. Also, a reasonable explanation is that at the time, Woodley still had her prominent pixie cut, and seeing as the movie Snowden was a biopic, she had to wear a wig to resemble the real-life person her character was based on.

Woodley dons the wig for the first half of the film. Later on, when her character and Edward are seen living in Hawaii, her natural hair is visible as if abandoning the earlier aesthetic.

Woodley on her character in ‘Snowden’

Shailene Woodley attends the 'Snowden' New York premiere on September 13, 2016.
Shailene Woodley attends the ‘Snowden’ New York premiere on September 13, 2016. | Jim Spellman/WireImage

As Woodley began promoting the film ahead of its 2016 release, she maintained her long brunette locks. Woodley told the Today hosts “it was exciting” to play a real person. “There’s a certain amount of pressure that I’ve never experienced before,” she added. “You want to do a great job and you want to give a great performance. But also you want to make sure you’re protecting the integrity of who that human being is.”

Woodley notes she “didn’t meet Linsday until three months into filming,” when Mills finally came to set. “I think it’s probably an overwhelming trippy experience to watch someone pretend to be you without knowing you,” she posited.

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