Shailene Diann Woodley (born November 15, 1991) is an American actress. Her first major role was as the main character, Amy Juergens, in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager (2008–13). She then appeared in the independent American drama The Descendants (2011), for which she received the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, and The Spectacular Now (2013), receiving the Special Jury Award for Acting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.
Woodley gained commercial success when cast as the protagonist, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, in The Divergent Series (2014–present) and as Hazel Grace Lancaster in The Fault in Our Stars (2014).
Woodley was born in San Bernardino County, California, but grew up in Simi Valley, California. Her mother, Lori (née Victor), is a school counselor, and her father, Lonnie Woodley, is a school principal. Her father is of English descent and her mother has African American, Creole, English, and Swiss ancestry. She has a younger brother. She modeled at the age of four. When she was 15 she was diagnosed with scoliosis. She was put in a chest-to-hips plastic brace to stop her spine from curving further.
Woodley attended Simi Valley High School. Before landing a role in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Woodley considered studying interior design at New York University.
2002–12: Early roles and breakthrough success
In 2002, Woodley appeared in small television roles on Without a Trace and The District. In 2005, she was nominated for a Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special for her role in A Place Called Home as California Ford. She also originally played Kaitlin Cooper in The O.C. She appeared as Felicity Merriman in Felicity: An American Girl Adventure, for which she received a Young Artists award nomination in the Category: Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special (Comedy or Drama). This is one of two TV specials that Woodley appeared in with John Schneider. She did some acting classes with Anthony Meindl. She appeared on Crossing Jordan as a young Jordan, as well as other television series including Everybody Loves Raymond, My Name is Earl, CSI: NY, and Close to Home. In 2007, Woodley appeared in Cold Case as Sarah Gunden, a murder victim’s younger Amish sister, who originally brings the case to the investigators’ attention. Woodley starred in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager as Amy Juergens, a 15-year-old 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.
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]..one of the toughest, smartest, most credible adolescent performances in recent memory”. 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”. Receiving accolades for her performance, Woodley received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female. People named her one of 2012 “Most Beautiful at Every Age.” Woodley was also considered one of the 55 faces of the future by Nylon Magazine‘s “Young Hollywood Issue”.
2013–present: Continued success and The Divergent Series
Woodley starred in the film adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel, The Spectacular Now, as Aimee Finecky. The film premiered at Sundance on January 18, 2013. Her portrayal of Aimee gained praise from critics and she won the Special Jury Award for Acting, alongside Miles 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 and then on October 24, 2014 to wider audiences. In October 2012, it was announced that Woodley was offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. 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.
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. 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”. Divergent was also a financial success as the film reached the No. 1 spot at the box-office during its opening weekend, and has since grossed US$288.7 million at the international box-office.
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. 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.” The film was a block-buster success, grossing over US$307 million worldwide. 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”, and Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times stated that her performance as Hazel is Oscar-worthy; and added, “she’s that memorable” On November 14, 2014, she received The Hollywood Film Award for Hollywood Breakout Performance – Actress for her performance as Hazel.
In 2015, Woodley reprised her role as Tris in The Divergent Series: Insurgent, the second installment in The Divergent Series. The film was commercially successful, making nearly US$100 million in its worldwide debut and grossed US$295.2 million worldwide. 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.”
Woodley was reported to be in talks to star in an Oliver Stone film, Snowden, alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Filming began on February 16, 2015 and is set to be released in 2016. She is set to reprise her role as Tris in the final two films of The Divergent Series, titled The Divergent Series: Allegiant, scheduled to be released on March 18, 2016 and The Divergent Series: Ascendant on June 9, 2017. 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.
|2011||The Descendants||Alexandra “Alex” King|
|2013||The Spectacular Now||Aimee Finecky|
|2014||White Bird in a Blizzard||Katrina “Kat” Connor|
|2014||Divergent||Beatrice “Tris” Prior|
|2014||The Amazing Spider-Man 2||Mary Jane Watson||Deleted scenes|
|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||Post-production|
|1999||Replacing Dad||Little Girl||TV movie|
|2001–03||The 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||The O.C.||Young Kaitlin Cooper||6 episodes|
|2004||Everybody Loves Raymond||Snotty Girl #2||Episode: “Party Dress”|
|2004||A Place Called Home||California “Cali” Ford||Movie|
|2004–05||Jack & Bobby||Chloe Benedict||2 episodes|
|2005||Felicity: An American Girl Adventure||Felicity Merriman||Movie|
|2005||Once Upon a Mattress||Molly||Movie|
|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||Movie|
|2008–13||The Secret Life of the American Teenager||Amy Juergens||Main role (121 episodes)|
|2016||Big Little Lies||Jane Chapman|
- List of awards and nominations received by Shailene Woodley