Shailene Woodley looks back fondly on Divergent 10 years later

It's been 10 years since Shailene Woodley took on the role of Tris in the Divergent movies, and the star opened up about the life-changing experience.
Premiere For Neon's "Ferrari" - Arrivals
Premiere For Neon's "Ferrari" - Arrivals / Amy Sussman/GettyImages

In June 2024, all three movies in The Divergent Series drop on Netflix, paving the way for a hopeful resurgence as fans revisits the sci-fi action trilogy. Can you believe that 10 years have gone by since Divergent first hit theaters? Well, neither can the film series' star Shailene Woodley.

After ending a five-season run on the popular ABC Family teen drama series The Secret Life of the American Teenager in 2013, Woodley hit the big screen in 2014 as the leading star of the young adult dystopian adaptation of Veronica Roth's book of the same name. The Divergent Series produced two more movies, 2015's Insurgent and 2016's Allegiant. A fourth and final film, Ascendant, was sadly scrapped amid middling critical and commercial reception.

During the December 2023 red carpet premiere of her film Ferrari, Woodley reflected on the then-upcoming 10th anniversary of Divergent by Access Hollywood. "That's crazy. No, that's weird," she said when asked if she could believe the movie arrived at its decade milestone. The outlet also asked the actress how playing Tris changed her life, and she shared two major ways:

"I can't believe it's been a decade. That's wild! It changed my life in many ways. It was the movie that altered, I guess, people in the world "knowing who I was." And so in some ways, that kind of shifted things. But I think more than anything, it changed my life because I just got to learn more about the craft of making films with a big budget and with green screen and with action sequences and stunts, and that was very special."

Shailene Woodley

Even though The Secret Life of the American Teenager was successful and had a loyal fanbase, and she had scored a Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 2011 drama film The Descendants, which starred George Clooney, Divergent really was the largest production she'd been part of at that point in her career. On the heels of The Hunger Games, Divergent had a global reach that took Woodley's fame to the next level. (The Fault in Our Stars premiering the same year didn't hurt!)

However, Woodley's main takeaway from the film a decade later has to do with the education she received while working on Divergent. Although she has been acting since she was a child, the starring role in the action movie marked Woodley's biggest project in terms of budget and all of the work that went into it. They weren't working with green screens and doing hand-to-hand combat on The Secret Life.

Woodley's comments echo those of Riverdale stars Charles Melton and Madelaine Petsch, who both look back on their time on The CW teen drama series as an acting school experience. An actor can learn a lot about their craft when certain roles take storytelling to new heights and ask more of them than the average, straightforward role. It's nice to know that Woodley can look back on her experience with Divergent in the same way and still holds those lessons learned closely.

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