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The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Theo James and Shailene Woodley
The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate

Shailene Woodley and Theo James return as Tris and Four in The Divergent Series: Insurgent.

On the run from Jeanine (Kate Winslet), the power-hungry leader of the Erudite faction, Tris and Four search throughout the country for allies among the Amity, Candor, Abnegation and Dauntless factions in order to overturn Erudite and save their world.

If your a fan of the franchise you don’t have long to wait to see Shailene Woodley and Theo James in action – the movie opens on March 20th, 2015.

What was it like returning to the role of Tris?

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Theo James and Shailene Woodley
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper

Shailene Woodley: Getting back into Tris was much more difficult than I had anticipated, because I didn’t take into account that I myself had grown for a year. I figured going back into her world be simple because I would just go back into that mindset. But my personal mindset had progressed and so I had to go back to who Shay was a year prior in order to get back into Tris’ mind.

The action seems to be increased in this sequel.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Ansel Elgort
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James, center) and Caleb (Ansel Elgort) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper

Theo: The second movie round you have already set up some of the key storyline elements. So we had that luxury of jumping straight into the action without exploring characters and introducing them again.

Also, [director, Robert Schwentke’s] energy is inherently different, which is always good. As much as we like Neil [Burger, the director of Divergent], it’s always fun to have someone to add something different, it always helps to mix it up. And also we had a bit more money, so that helps.

What was the training like for you, Shay?

Shailene: The first movie we did a lot of choreography and a lot of fight training and this one was basic fitness, it wasn’t really too intense.

What is your favorite part about the relationship with Four and Tris, and how is it different in this movie?

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Theo James, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Four (Theo James), Peter (Miles Teller), and Tris (Shailene Woodley) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper

Theo: In the first movie, Shay’s character is playing catch up in a way because she’s introduced to this world, and you don’t really know where Four is coming from, he’s a little bit elusive.

Whereas in this movie he is almost trying to quell her revenge for the death of her parents and her family. I like the fact that they have mutual respect for one another. Her femininity doesn’t detract from his masculinity, and the other way around.

She’s still a very strong female lead character, but she’s still very feminine at the same time.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Shailene Woodley and Theo James
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate

Shailene: One of the reasons I fell in love so deeply with Divergent originally was the relationship between Tris and Four, because it was grounded in truth, respect and authenticity and it wasn’t based on surface level physical attraction or infatuation. Tris and Four equally saw each other as individuals that they were inspired by, individuals that they were intrigued by, curious about, there was a sense of mystique about each of them.

I find it fascinating and I loved that in Insurgent their relationship is rocky, it’s not 100 percent, it’s not every time they see each other they feel safe and protected and they feel that they are able to be vulnerable. They put up walls against one another, and that happens in partnerships, everything has an ebb and a flow, and I felt that was one of the smartest things that Veronica (Roth, the author of the novels) could have gifted to the young adult world. Yes, there are lots of books that do that as well, but to have that involved with an action film or series is quite rare.

I think it’s great to have a platform for everyone to recognize that relationships can be based in truth and be vulnerable and, at the same time, when your walls go up, just to recognize that you’re keeping somebody at arm’s length because of your own defenses, not because of anything that they’re doing. That’s all defense mechanisms are.

What was it like working with Naomi Watts?

Theo: I was really excited to work with her because she’s a great actress and has done some phenomenal work. Firstly, she’s playing my mom, but she’s a bit of a babe, so I had to get past that. (he laughs)

She’s really interesting in this film because she has a very different energy, she’s very calculating but, at the same time, she has a warmth and a gentleness that almost juxtaposes what her real ambition is. She’s not staring you down in an abrasive way, it’s very sweet but intense.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Naomi Watts
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Evelyn (Naomi Watts) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper

The Divergent Series: Insurgent (2015) – Soundbytes

The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Octavia Spencer
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Johanna (Octavia Spencer) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper
Click below to hear the following soundbytes…
Shailene was asked which action sequence made her feel the most bad ass?
Theo was asked how important he thinks it is to have strong female role models in movies today?
Ansel Elgort, who plays Caleb, was asked if it was difficult going back and forth from Divergent, where he’s Shailene’s brother, and The Fault in Our Stars, where he kisses her?
Naomi Watts, who portrays Evelyn, was asked about becoming a part of this action franchise, something that she hasn’t done for awhile.
Octavia Spencer, who plays the peace loving Johanna, was also asked about woman power displayed in this movie.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent - Ansel Elgort
The Divergent Series: Insurgent – Caleb (Ansel Elgort) ©2015 Courtesy of Lionsgate, photo by Andrew Cooper