Shailene Woodley is in awe of her latest on screen character, Lindsay Mills. “It still trips me out even today to think that I played a character that was in love with a man named Edward Snowden who released this information and who ended up in Russia in exile,” she told Screen Rant at the Snowden film junket in Los Angeles. Aside from jumping at the chance to work with Oliver Stone, the Divergent series actress signed onto the project because she found herself extremely connected to the passions of the film’s subject. “A few years ago when Ed decided to disclose the information he wanted to release, I was incredibly affected by it – entering adulthood and thinking about privacy and realizing that privacy wasn’t something that really existed anymore,” she explains. “And then having someone like Ed stand up for all of us on behalf of all of us and empower us with information, I found that really moving.”
Aside from discussing her latest theatrical release, Woodley used our recent interview as a means of updating her fans on the controversy surrounding the second Allegiant film. “Last that I heard, they are trying to make it into a television show,” she told us. “I didn’t sign up to be in a television show, out of respect to the studio and everyone involved. They may have changed their mind and they may be doing something different. But yeah I am not necessarily interested in doing a television show.”
Check out our interview with Woodley where she discusses her viewpoints on the privacy of herself and those around her, meeting Mills in real life, and her campaign to help keep the work of Snowden relevant.
SR: What was it about Edward Snowden's story that made you want to take part in this film?
Woodley: The reason I wanted to be a part of this film, is because this movie tells you a side of the story isn't necessarily, or hasn't been revealed on a mainstream level before. But the reason why I felt engaged to even want to learn about this movie is because, a few years ago when Ed decided to disclose the information that he released, I was incredibly affected by it. Being someone, who at the time, was in my early-twenties and during adulthood and thinking about privacy, outside of my career, but just in my own personal world and realizing that privacy wasn't something that really existed anymore. And then having someone, like Ed, stand up for all of us, on behalf of all of us, and empower us with information - I found that really moving. An then now, when I find out that Oliver Stone is going to make a movie about him, I was intrigued because it's important to me when you have these quote/unquote controversial issues, to keep the conversation alive and to keep the momentum mobilized. Because it's easy to have a groundbreaking story released and then be forgotten about.
SR: Yeah, totally. And being a celebrity, having fans and paparazzi constantly follow you, does it kind of parallel this story a little bit, with the privacy being invaded?
Woodley: No it's different because as an actor I chose a life that going into it I knew there was a possibility that people might follow me, or people might know who I was. But someone say, like my mom or my neighbor down the street who works at the local Safeway, they didn't chose a life to be followed or to be watched, and yet, they are still being followed and they are still being watched, even if it's in a way that subliminal. And, because of that, I find this information to be incredibly relevant and incredibly important for all humans outside of career.
SR: Did you get to meet with the real Lindsey or talk to her at all getting into character for this?
Woodley: I got to talk to her three months after we began shooting, and you know, it still trips me out even today to think that I played a character that was in love with a man name Edward Snowden - who released this information, who was sent to Russia, or who ended up in Russia in exile. But Lindsey is still dating this person, in real life, right now as we speak and is living in Russia with this person because his passport was revoked from the United States of America. And it hits me constantly, to be an actor and pretend. It's another thing to be grounded in reality that is stuck with you for life. And this is a reality that's stuck with her for life. After walking in her shoes through this project, I just think the world of her strength and her bravery. To trudge forward with Ed, knowing that whole world, in many ways, was watching to see what would happen next.
SR: Lastly I have to ask, what's the latest with Allegiant 2? Are you onboard?
Woodley: You know, last I heard they were trying to make it into a television show. I didn't sign up to be in a television show. Out of respect to the studio and everyone in involved, they may have changed their mind and may be doing something different, but I'm not necessarily interested in doing a television show.
Snowden is in theaters September 16, 2016.