|Photo: Robert Yager for The New York Times|
“I told them, ‘You guys, this movie has to be made,’ ” Ms. Woodley said, adding that she had offered to work in the catering department if the lead role of Hazel Lancaster wasn’t available.Director Josh Boone admits that when he found out about her "unbridled passion" for TFIOS, he didn't want to meet with her at first. But after meeting her and seeing her audition, he couldn't deny she was Hazel.
“I was immediately turned off by that,” recalled Mr. Boone, who said that he had felt she was too old for the part and didn’t resemble the Hazel that he had imagined while reading the novel. Mr. Boone underwent an exhaustive casting process, which only meant that he’d not yet come into contact with the husky-voiced, big-eyed force of nature that is Ms. Woodley. Mr. Boone eventually flew to Chicago, where Ms. Woodley was filming “Divergent,” but according to his recollection, Ms. Woodley only compounded his reservations at their pre-audition dinner.“She talked a lot about health food and what we should and shouldn’t eat,” Mr. Boone said. “I really liked her, but I still didn’t think she was Hazel.”Two minutes into Ms. Woodley’s audition the next morning, Mr. Boone recalled, everything was moot. “We all cried,” Mr. Boone said. “Why did I make this so hard on myself? Why didn’t I just cast her in the beginning? She broke our hearts. Shai wasn’t Shai anymore. She was someone completely different.”
Mr. Boone admitted that he initially wrote off Ms. Woodley’s warm, anti-glitz attitude as some sort of off-camera pose. Then he changed his mind.“I think the first time you meet her, you think: ‘She can’t be real. This is an act,’ ” Mr. Boone said. “But what I came to realize was, No, she actually is this person. She does really care about all these things. I’d just forgotten how idealistic you can be at 22.”
In the article, Shailene reveals that to get into character she spent time with young cancer patients, lost weight by walking, cut her long blonde locks and bonded with Laura Dern.
Check out the entire article written at New York Times