What you need to know about Insurgent, the sequel to last spring’s Divergent, is that Shailene Woodley is back in action as angsty and conflicted teen Tris Prior, but this time she’s learning to embrace her mental toughness in order to survive the harsh rule of dictator-like Jeanine (Kate Winslet). This second visit to the dystopian world and segregated society introduced in the first film ups the action ante considerably as the different groups of the population, factions, slowly band together to fight against their totalitarian rulers.
When Screen Rant sat down with Woodley recently, we tried to get the inside scoop on the extra action scenes, what more money in a sequel budget feels like and if we’ll see Woodley reprise her previously unseen turn as Mary Jane in the Spider-Man reboot.
What did you get to do as Tris in this one that you didn’t get to do the first time around?
I like that in this film Tris had bigger polarities. She’s a bit impulsive which she could work on, but I like that she’s very weak and very strong at the same time, I thought that was interesting. In the first film she’s weak and strong more in physicality and in this movie she’s weak and strong from a mental perspective.
In speaking with Mr. Teller about his character and feeling bad about beating you up in the first one, which he should even though that’s the world, what did you like about the physicality this time around with his character?
It was fun we joked, he’s like, ‘In the first one I was beating you up and in this movie you keep beating me up.’ Which is kind of cool, ‘Yeah. Shut up and take it.’
Do you get to do a slow-motion take where you make contact with it all or is choreography with a stunt coordinator?
It’s all real-time when we fight and then they’ll use slow-motion and CGI in post-production.
What is the most surprising thing for you when you see, after performing the fights and such with green screen, when you finally see it fully rendered, are there scenes that are particularly magical and more interesting?
Yeah absolutely. All of the action scenes, because when you’re filming them you’re surrounded by green scree and the’res wires and none of it looks sexy and you’re thinking, ‘How is this going to work’ and then you finally see it onscreen and it’s pretty groovy.
Not getting into the actual money or budget, but it seems like there was more of it put into Insurgent. Can you feel that walking onto set?
You definitely feel that the scope of the world is bigger, the sets are so much bigger. The action sequences are, a lot of it starts with [starts to sneeze, bravely fights it back] production design. The costumes were richer, everything in general had a deeper quality to it.
Do you think that the story deserves a happy ending? The end of the entire series?
Yeah, a happy ending to any story is truth in my opinion, so whatever seems the most truthful and the most honest is what the audience should receive.
Since Spider-Man is getting another reboot, would you step back into the world of Mary Jane?
Everyone is saying that, totally, yeah. Why not? It would be really fun. It would be fun.
The Divergent Series: Insurgent opens in theaters March 20.