The new “Hunger Games.” The new Jennifer Lawrence. It’s the media chatter leading up to the opening of “Divergent,” which screened at Hearst Tower in New York on Thursday night. And, admittedly, comparisons between the two are undeniable (book-to-film, dystopian milieu, trilogies, etc.), with both shining the spotlight on a strong, young actress being flung from second-tier roles to leading lady.
In “Divergent” that actress is Shailene Woodley. The movie takes place in a futuristic Chicago where society has been divided into five genuses, or “factions.” Woodley’s character, Tris, exhibits qualities of each faction and gets the rare and dangerous classification of a Divergent. In an attempt to stay under the radar and fit in, she joins Dauntless, a faction defined by bravery, piercings and a lot of tattoos. Heartthrob Theo James, who plays Woodley’s love interest named Four, is also in Dauntless.
At the Cinema Society and Marie Claire-hosted screening, Woodley, as she’s known to do, greeted all of the reporters on the press line with a hug.
“In this industry, we all have makeup on and are wearing clothes we would normally never wear,” said Woodley, clad in a fitted black jumpsuit from Elie Saab’s pre-fall 2013 collection and gold metallic pumps. “It’s kind of my way of being like, ‘Yo, I’m real, you’re real, let’s have a real conversation and skip the surface-level bulls–t.’”
Proving her point, a few minutes later she yanked off the heels and went barefoot. Aptly, she was in the midst of telling WWD she’d love to have a musician-cum-hippie faction in the film. “There’s definitively a lack of a musician faction, so I’d say we need a music festival faction.”
The swoon-worthy James echoed that sentiment. “I would create a faction of music, where everyone’s playing bongos and getting s–tfaced.”
After the lengthy screening — the film clocks in at almost two-and-a-half hours — the cast headed over to the after party at The Wayfarer, where they were joined by Judd Hirsch, Margarita Levieva and a contingent of models — Lindsay Ellingson, Cory Bond, Garrett Neff and Alex Lundqvist.
Woodley ditched the jumpsuit and swapped bare feet for Converse, walking in the door wearing jeans, a camo-print T and a zip-up hoodie. And, in true diverging-from-the-fashion-norm form, she was carrying an inexplicably unusual accessory: a bag of laundry.