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It’s no secret that Theo James and Shailene Woodley have some strong chemistry. When the pair portrayed soulmates Tobias “Four” Eaton and Beatrice “Tris” Prior in the Divergent movies, their connection was palpable. In fact, their chemistry was so strong that many fans speculated that they were dating in real life. Those rumors were helped along by the playful banter that Woodley and James shared.

Shailene Woodley and Theo James gaze at each other at the Divergent film premiere
Shailene Woodley and Theo James | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Theo James got candid about his chemistry with Shailene Woodley

James feels that he had chemistry with Woodley right away. However, the Big Little Lies alum maintains that she didn’t really see the chemistry between herself and James until she watched Divergent for the first time. Though the actors were tasked with playing a couple on screen, they didn’t have to do anything out of the ordinary to make their romantic connection believable. In an interview with HitFix, James confessed that his chemistry with Woodley was completely natural.

“Sometimes it’s a lottery,” James shared. “Sometimes you can kind of make the chemistry work. But when it’s not forced, and it’s there naturally, which luckily it is with Shai and I, then it just adds to ⁠— it makes it easier, but it really adds to the scene.”

The ‘Sanditon’ star joked about practicing the ‘Divergent’ kiss with wine

Though James’ chemistry with Woodley was natural, he enjoyed joking about how he manufactured it with the Endings, Beginnings star. The Downton Abbey alum made a very memorable joke about banging on Woodley’s trailer every night and wanting to practice the famous Divergent kissing scene.

“Well, I was on to her every night,” James shared. “I was saying, ‘We need to practice these scenes, you know, over a couple bottles of wine. We need to really rehearse these kissing scenes.’ She didn’t really go for it.” Of course, that wasn’t the first or last time that James tore the mickey out of the press while doing film promotion for Divergent. In a separate interview with Vanity Fair, he made a sexually explicit joke.

The ‘Insurgent’ stars made other sexually explicit jokes while promoting the ‘Divergent’ movies

“We were 69-ing on the top,” James shared when asked about filming Divergent’s Ferris Wheel stunt with Woodley. Woodley was quick to chime in on the joke. “That was actually the most intense stunt work in the film,” she shared in jest. “It was really tricky to figure out.”

James initially distanced himself from Woodley while filming ‘Divergent’

In reality, James and Woodley’s chemistry was present naturally. In fact, it was so natural that James felt the need to close himself off from Woodley a bit at the beginning of filming. In the aforementioned interview with HitFix, James explained his reasoning for this choice and how his connection with Woodley grew over time.


Theo James and Shailene Woodley Fought to Reshoot that ‘Divergent’ Kiss Scene

“But to be honest, no it’s not like we deliberately did anything,” James shared of their chemistry. “In a way, I actually kind of took a step back at the beginning of filming because he’s such a closed book. I didn’t want to be kind of too there. I thought that would help me to be a little bit distant. But then, as we carried on filming and we did get to know each other then that kind of reflected in the story as well. We were genuinely friends and generally cared about each other.”