Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley at the White Bird premiere on October 3, 2014
Born Shailene Diann Woodley
(1991-11-15) November 15, 1991
San Bernardino County, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1999–present

Shailene Diann Woodley (born November 15, 1991)[1] is an American actress. She first received attention as Amy on the ABC Family television series Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008–13) and rose to stardom in various popular and critically acclaimed films such as The Descendants (2011), The Spectacular Now (2013), The Fault in Our Stars (2014), The Divergent Series (2014–) as Beatrice "Tris" Prior and Snowden (2016). For her work, she has garnered a Cannes Trophée Chopard, Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Acting, Critics Choice Award, People's Choice Award, Independent Spirit Award and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award, BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.

Early life

Woodley was born in San Bernardino County, California,[2] but grew up in Simi Valley, California. Her mother, Lori (née Victor),[2] is a school counselor, and her father, Lonnie Woodley, is a school principal.[3] She also has a younger brother.[4]

At the age of fifteen, she was diagnosed with scoliosis[5] and was put in a chest-to-hips plastic brace to stop her spine from curving further.[6] Woodley attended Simi Valley High School[7] and modeled at the age of four. She also did some acting classes with Anthony Meindl.[8]


2001–12: Career beginnings, Secret Life and film debut

Woodley began her acting career in 2001 with minor television roles in The District and Crossing Jordan. She followed it with a leading role in the television film A Place Called Home (2004) as California Ford, which earned her a nomination for a Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special.[9] She also originally played the young Kaitlin Cooper in The O.C.[5] and appeared as the titular character Felicity Merriman in the television film Felicity: An American Girl Adventure (2005). Her performance received another Young Artist Award nomination, this time for Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama). Following this she appeared in numerous guest roles in other television series, including Everybody Loves Raymond, My Name is Earl, CSI: NY, Close to Home and Cold Case.

Woodley was then cast as the main character, Amy Juergens, in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008–13); about a 15-year-old girl who learns she is pregnant. The show explores the effects of her pregnancy on her family, friends and herself as well as life at Ulysses S. Grant High School in California. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly praised her performance stating that "Woodley's performance lifts a well-meaning, rather brave, but ramshackle show a notch."[10] Popular among viewers, the show became one of ABC Family's most watched telecast throughout its five-season run, spanning over 121 episodes.

Woodley attends the 19th Annual Hamptons International Film Festival Baume & Mercier Party on October 15, 2011

In 2011, Woodley made her feature film debut in The Descendants, where she played Alex, the troubled elder daughter of Matt King (played by George Clooney). Her performance received positive reviews from critics. A.O. Scott from The New York Times said, "Ms. Woodley..[gives] of the toughest, smartest, most credible adolescent performances in recent memory".[11] Peter Debruge from Variety said that her performance is a "revelation" and that "in the role of Alex, [she is] displaying both the edge and depth the role demands".[12] Receiving accolades for her performance, Woodley received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture,[13] and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female.[14] People named her one of 2012 "Most Beautiful at Every Age."[15] Woodley was also considered one of the 55 faces of the future by Nylon Magazine's "Young Hollywood Issue".[14]

2013–present: Critical success and The Divergent Series

Woodley starred in the film adaptation of Tim Tharp's novel, The Spectacular Now, as Aimee Finecky, an innocent, bookish teenager who begins dating the charming, freewheeling high-school senior (played by Miles Teller).[16] The film premiered at Sundance on January 18, 2013.[17] Her portrayal of Aimee gained praise from critics; Los Angeles Times' critic Betsy Sharkey said that Woodley and Teller "bring such an authentic face of confidence and questioning, indifference and need, pain and denial, friendship and first love",[18] while another critic from The Guardian said that they gave "remarkably strong performances" that "display a depth of feeling that's breathtaking in its simplicity and honest[y]."[19] Additionally, Woodley won the Special Jury Award for Acting, alongside Teller, at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and received a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. She had also signed on to star in White Bird in a Blizzard, directed by Gregg Araki. Although filming took place in October 2012, the film was not released until January 20, 2014 at the Sundance Film Festival[20] and then on October 24, 2014 to wider audiences, where it received mixed reviews. In the film she plays teenager Katrina "Kat" Connors who's life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears. Critic Moira MacDonald commended her by saying that "Woodley's depiction of Kat is low-key, natural and utterly unaffected; as she has in every role, she makes the character her own, with her scratchy little voice and level gaze."[21]

In October 2012, it was announced that Woodley was offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.[22] On June 19, 2013, it was announced that she was cut from the film. Director Marc Webb told The Hollywood Reporter that the cut was "a creative decision to streamline the story and focus on Peter and Gwen and their relationship," and that everyone loved working with Woodley.[23] In 2014, Woodley starred as Tris Prior in the film Divergent, an adaptation of Veronica Roth's best-selling young adult novel of the same name, and the first installment in The Divergent Series.[24] Set in a dystopian and post-apocalyptic Chicago. The film received mixed reviews, but Woodley's performance as Tris received a positive reception; Sam Allard from Orlando Weekly said that, "with her performance as Tris Prior in Divergent, Woodley rescues and then raises up a film that could have been an utter disaster".[25] Divergent reached the No. 1 spot at the box office during its opening weekend and was a financial success.[26]

Afterwards in 2014, Woodley starred as Hazel Grace Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars, the film adaptation of John Green's novel of the same name. Her character is a 16-year-old cancer patient who meets and falls in love with Augustus Waters (played by Ansel Elgort), a similarly afflicted teen from her cancer support group. Green added via Twitter about Woodley; "There were so many amazing auditions for the role of Hazel, but Shailene's love for the book and her understanding of Hazel blew me away."[27] The film was a blockbuster success, grossing over $307 million worldwide.[28] Woodley's performance received critical acclaim from critics; Peter Travers from Rolling Stone called her a, "sublime actress with a résumé that pretty much proves she's incapable of making a false move on camera",[29] and Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times stated that her performance as Hazel is Oscar-worthy; and added, "she's that memorable"[30] On November 14, 2014, she received The Hollywood Film Award for Hollywood Breakout Performance – Actress for her performance as Hazel.[31]

In 2015, Woodley reprised her role as Tris in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the second installment in The Divergent Series. Her performance once again received critical acclaim, with Daniel M. Kimmel of New England Movies Weekly writing that, "Woodley does solid work here as she's done elsewhere, and continues to be someone to watch."[32] Despite a more negative critical reception than the previous film, Insurgent was commercially successful, making nearly US$100 million in its worldwide debut and grossed $295.2 million worldwide.[33] She reprised her role again in the penultimate film of the franchise, Allegiant, which was released on March 18, 2016. The film, however, was panned by critics[34] and a box office bomb.[35]

Woodley starred opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Oliver Stone's biographical thriller Snowden.[36] Filming began on February 16, 2015, and Snowden was released on September 16, 2016.[37][38][39] Owen Gleiberman's review said that Woodley "gives a performance of breathtaking dimension: As the movie goes on, she makes Lindsay supportive and selfish, loving and stricken."[40]

Upcoming projects

Nicole Kidman confirmed in an interview that Woodley will return to TV to star in the HBO limited series Big Little Lies, which Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will star in and produce.[41]

Personal life

Woodley is an avid environmental activist.[42][43][44] She supported Bernie Sanders for President in 2016.[45]

In 2016, she protested against the Dakota Access Pipeline, a US$3.87 billion conduit being built by Dakota Access LLC.[46][47] This major pipeline project that has plans to run 1,134 miles is claimed to infringe tribal sovereignty. On October 11, she was arrested for criminal trespassing in Saint Anthony, North Dakota.[48]

In mid 2016, Woodley joined the board of Our Revolution, a political organization aimed to educate voters about issues,[49][50] get people involved in the political process, and work to organize and elect progressive leaders.[51][52]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Descendants Alexandra "Alex" King
2013 The Spectacular Now Aimee Finecky
2014 White Bird in a Blizzard Katrina "Kat" Connor [53][54]
2014 Divergent Beatrice "Tris" Prior
2014 The Fault in Our Stars Hazel Grace Lancaster
2015 The Divergent Series: Insurgent Beatrice "Tris" Prior
2016 The Divergent Series: Allegiant Beatrice "Tris" Prior
2016 Snowden Lindsay Mills


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Replacing Dad Little Girl Television film
2001–03 District, TheThe District Kristin Debreno 3 episodes
2001–04 Crossing Jordan Young Jordan Cavanaugh 4 episodes
2003 Without a Trace Young Clare Metcalf Episode: "Clare de Lune"
2003–04 O.C., TheThe O.C. Kaitlin Cooper 6 episodes
2004 Everybody Loves Raymond Snotty Girl #2 Episode: "Party Dress"
2004 Place Called Home, AA Place Called Home California "Cali" Ford Television film
2004–05 Jack & Bobby Chloe Benedict 2 episodes
2005 Felicity: An American Girl Adventure Felicity Merriman Television film
2005 Once Upon a Mattress Molly Television film
2006 My Name Is Earl Young Gwen Episode: "BB"
2007 CSI: NY Evie Pierpont Episode: "A Daze of Wine and Roaches"
2007 Close to Home Gaby Tursi Episode: "Getting In"
2007 Cold Case Sarah Gunden Episode: "Running Around"
2007 Final Approach Maya Bender Television film
2008–13 The Secret Life of the American Teenager Amy Juergens Main role (121 episodes)
2017 Big Little Lies Jane Chapman Upcoming series; filming

See also


  1. "Shailene Diann Woodley, Born 11/15/1991". California Birth Index. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Shailene Diann Woodley, Born 11/15/1991". California Birth Index. Retrieved August 10, 2015.
  3. "Shailene Woodley of Simi Valley stars with George Clooney in 'The Descendants' » Ventura County Star Mobile". M. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  4. Biography Today. Detroit, Michigan: Omnigraphics. 2009. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-7808-1052-5.
  5. 1 2 Zimmerman, Danielle (March 21, 2014). "Fifteen fun facts about Shailene Woodley and Theo James". Hypable.
  6. "Biography Today", pp.161–162
  7. Strauss, Bob (July 29, 2013). "Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller experience the coming of age without stereotypes in 'The Spectacular Now'". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  8. "Anthony Meindl Actor's Workshop — Los Angeles Actors Testimonials". Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  9. "26th Annual Young Artist Awards". Young Artist Awards. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  10. "Critic reviews for The Secret Life of the American Teenager". Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  11. "The Descendants (2011)". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  12. "Review: 'The Descendants'". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  13. "Golden Globes 2012: The Winners List". The Hollywood Reporter. January 15, 2012.
  14. 1 2 Wexler, Sarah (November 16, 2011). "Shailene Woodley on The Descendants, Crying Underwater, and George Clooney's Fart Machine". Vulture. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  15. Quan, Karen J. (April 20, 2012). "2012 Most Beautiful at Every Age – Shailene Woodley". People. Retrieved April 25, 2012.
  16. "Shailene Woodley Living In 'The Spectacular Now' With 'Smashed' Director James Ponsoldt". Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  17. McCarthy, Todd. "The Spectacular Now: Sundance Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. Times, Los Angeles. "Review: 'The Spectacular Now' is an intoxicating brew of teen angst". Retrieved August 5, 2016.
  19. Gibbs, Ed (January 29, 2013). "Sundance film festival 2013: The Spectacular Now – first look review". Retrieved August 5, 2016 via The Guardian.
  20. Sneider, Jeff (June 28, 2012). "Woodley flies to 'White Bird' – Entertainment News, Top News, Media". Variety (magazine). Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  22. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Has Minor Role For Mary Jane". October 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  23. "Shailene Woodley Cut From 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  24. Kit, Boyrs (October 18, 2012). "Shailene Woodley Closing in on Deal to Star in 'Divergent'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  25. "Divergent". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  26. "Divergent (2014)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. June 23, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  27. Vilkomerson, Sara (March 19, 2013). "Shailene Woodley offered lead role for 'The Fault in Our Stars'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  28. "The Fault In Our Stars (2014)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  29. "'The Fault in Our Stars' Movie Review". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  30. "'The Fault in Our Stars': A lovely work led by the transcendent Shailene Woodley". Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  31. "Hollywood Breakout Performance Award: Shailene Woodley". Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  32. "Review – Insurgent". Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  33. "Box Office: 'Insurgent' Opens to $101M Globally; Sean Penn Latest Actor to Fizzle". Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  34. THR staff (March 18, 2016). "'Divergent Series: Allegiant' Gets Panned by Critics". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  35. "The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  36. "Shailene Woodley in Talks to Star in Oliver Stone's Snowden Film (Exclusive)". Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  37. "On The Set For 2/16/15: David O. Russell Starts Lensing 'Joy', 'Maze Runner 2′ Wraps & More". February 16, 2015. Retrieved February 16, 2015.
  38. "'Allegiant' movie release date set for March 2016". Hypable. Retrieved April 11, 2014.
  39. McNary, Dave (April 11, 2014). "Lionsgate Splitting Third 'Divergent' Book 'Allegiant' into Two Films". Variety.
  40. Gleiberman, Owen (September 9, 2016). "Toronto Film Review: Oliver Stone's 'Snowden'". Variety. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  41. Goldberg, Lesley (December 5, 2015). "Shailene Woodley Joins HBO's Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman Drama". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 5, 2015.
  42. "Shailene Woodley: Activist Actor". NOW Toronto Magazine - Think Free. September 14, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  43. "Environmental Media Association Awards to Honor Shailene Woodley". Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  44. "Shailene Woodley to be honored at EMA Awards". The Slanted. September 22, 2016. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  45. "Shailene Woodley Is a Bernie Sanders Supporter, Are You Surprised Yet".
  46. "Shailene Woodley Joins Oil Pipeline Protest In North Dakota". KELOLAND News. Associated Press.
  47. CNN, Deena Zaru. "Woodley spotlights environmental fight after Sanders". CNN. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  48. Hill, Libby. "Shailene Woodley arrested while peacefully protesting Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved October 10, 2016.
  49. Hensch, Mark (August 3, 2016). "Sanders fundraising 'to transform American society'". TheHill. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  50. "Bernie Sanders seeks contributions for 'Our Revolution'". USA TODAY. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  51. "Bernie Sanders Writing Book With Policy Ideas, Primary Reflections". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  52. "Bernie Sanders wrote a book that's out in November". Entertainment Weekly's Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  53. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Has Minor Role For Mary Jane". October 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  54. "Shailene Woodley Cut From 'Amazing Spider-Man 2'". The Hollywood Reporter. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2013.

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