Shailene Woodley Nixes Divergent Films' TV-Movie Conclusion: 'I Didn't Sign Up to Be in a TV Show'

Putting the “dis” in dystopian, Shailene Woodley is bearish on reprising her role as Tris for the Divergent film franchise’s fourth and final entry, Ascendant, which in the wake of waning box office numbers is being produced as a TV-movie, and to set up a possible spinoff TV series.

Woodley was caught off guard by and had to read July’s original reports of the downgrade in the press. Now having had time to process the news, she told Screen Rant (during her rounds of Snowden press), “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.”

Woodley previously headlined ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager for five seasons, and is set to star opposite Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon in HBO’s upcoming Big Little Lies adaptation.

The Golden Globe nominee and seven-time Teen Choice Award winner echoed the skepticism of Divergent costar Miles Teller, who last month told The Hollywood Reporter, “We all signed on for [Ascendant] in hopes that it’d be released in theaters,’ whereas reconfiguring it as a lower-budgeted TV project presents “a different set of circumstances.”

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79 Comments
  1. Tina says:

    The franchise was horrible, and Shailene was the wrong choice for the character. She’s a terrible actress.

    • Sam says:

      I’ll admit I haven’t seen these films, but she was great in The Descendants so I question your conclusion. Great actors can be brought down by bad casting/writing. Ask Kristen Stewart.

      • Dude says:

        I don’t think I’d ever call Kristen Stewart “great” and I’ve seen her in quite a few films. However, I will say that while I’ve seen Shailene turn in great performances in movies like The Spectacular Now and Fault In Our Stars, she was not good in Divergent and seemed to be just picking up a check. I only saw the first one and it was terrible.

      • mooshki says:

        And truly horrible actresses can be good in the right role. Ask January Jones and Kaley Cuoco.

    • LK says:

      I thought she was fine in the first movie… the sequels were just badly written.

      • Pia says:

        It’s not that the sequels were badly written… the books are badly written. I don’t think the author had necessarily planned for a trilogy.

        • Julian says:

          After the first movie, they decide not to follow the main plot of the books. Wasting an entire movie to just open a box wasn’t a plot in Insurgent or whatever they did to that Allegiant “adaptation”. The movie writing sucks.

          • Allison A Barbieri says:

            Agreed. The third movie was so unlike the book, it was practically a different story. They did not adapt books 2 and 3 well at all!

          • Marquita says:

            I totally agree. The movies were changed so much that I like to think of it as its on completely separate entities. Like those ‘loosely based on’ movies; the only thing that has to be completely correct is the main character’s name or the city the story is based in or the street the characters lived on… but not all three.

    • TJ says:

      You mean the Oscar nominated actress can’t act? Really? I guess her peers think otherwise.

      • CK says:

        Shailene Woodley has never been nominated for an Oscar. She had a lot of buzz for “The Descendents” and made it into a lot of the precursor ceremonies, but she missed out on the Oscar nomination.

    • Rook says:

      I don’t think she’s terrible but I don’t think she was the right actress for Tris. Plus did we actually thinkt any of the actors were going to sign on??

    • The books are far worse. Goes to show that you can’t polish a turd.

      • Allison A Barbieri says:

        I disagree. I thought the first two books had a fantastic premise and a great plot. It all went to crap in the third book.

  2. Mark says:

    She’ll do HBO because it’s not TV.

  3. LK says:

    They should have just kept the last book as one movie or bit the bullet and just produced it as planned… finishing it off with a tv movie with a different cast is just a really bad idea.

  4. modwildtv says:

    In other words, suffering through a crap movie to finish off the series is a heck of a lot different than suffering through a crap TV movie to do the same. I don’t blame any of them one bit.

  5. Rahajicho says:

    Are their previous contracts void because of the move to TV?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      My (rudimentary) understanding is yes, they need to be renegotiated in the wake of such a significant change, and there was the question of if the actors’ asks could be met on a TV budget.

  6. TL says:

    She was and still is a terrible actress.

    • LK says:

      No she isn’t.. she was very good in descendents and in some of her other films.. like Spectacular Now and White Bird in a Blizzard… I wouldnt judge her by her work in these movies.

      • ceecilex says:

        To me a good actor/actress is someone who can be be good even when the script and/or directing is bad. She’s average at most. Her acting is so inconsistent. And she was never “great”. Her range goes from terribly bland to ok.

        • xomylifexo says:

          The writing is what makes a tv show or movie great. No actor/actress can make bad writing sound good/believable.

          • Ben says:

            I disagree. Do you remember that movie “I am Legend” with Will Smith?… well… the writing/script was AWFUL… but there you have a great example about how a good actor can take a crappy movie and make it work.. and yes.. i’m talking about the dog.

    • Tara says:

      why are you reading an article about her then? *confused*

  7. Emily says:

    a tv movie isn’t a tv show though. but i understand her opinion. if the other three movies were in the theatres, its ridiculous to put the last movie on tv. its insulting. who knows, maybe the last movie would get better box office numbers if they make a good trailer

    • TJ says:

      they are hoping to spin this off into a TV show… that’s why these actors are saying what they are saying. They don’t want to do the show even if this movie is turned into a tv movie.

  8. madhatter360 says:

    My understanding was that the last movie would be a tv-movie, and would involve certain additions to be able to have a tv series set in that universe with different characters. I don’t think anyone wants her to do a tv show.

    Also (spoilers?), having read the last book I’m not sure how she would be able to be in a TV show that takes place after the ending.

    • johnhelvete says:

      In fairness we have no idea what Lionsgate is telling the actors about the movie which is going to be combination final movie/backdoor pilot for the potential TV series. Lionsgate could be trying to get cast members to appear in a few episodes of the series and they could also be changing the ending to the book.

      • TJ says:

        Considering she read about it in the trades like everyone else…. not sure they are telling the actors much. The movie has been filmed, has it not? I would assume they filmed it all at once so unless they are asking them to go back to film some changes.

  9. maregolden says:

    I enjoyed her performances in the Divergent series, but unfortunately they split a book with a very thin plot into two pieces. Corporate greed strikes again (Hey, it worked for The Deathly Hallows). I had a feeling they would not show up for the tv movie. Can’t really blame them. While I’m on the subject, the last Hunger Games book should not have been split up either. The third one was almost unwatchable with the lack of plot movement.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Agree agree agree!!! The “split the last book into two movies” worked for Harry Potter (& Twilight) because the plot of the source material warranted it. The last book of HG & Divergent are widely considered to be the weakest with the thinnest plot that could easily fit into a single film and had absolutely no reason (besides potential $$$) to be split. I’d be fine with the Divergent movie series ending as is. The conclusion of the third movie was somewhat satisfying, more satisfying than the book series’ conclusion.

  10. A fan of TV says:

    In fairness, if she was asked about doing a TV show, it’s kind of a no kidding…the time commitment of several months versus several weeks is a big deal breaker for many whose film careers are in demand. If she’s not interested even if they do a TV MOVIE (versus a series), that’s snobbery.

    • LK says:

      I dont think shes been asked to do anything yet… and she signed up to do a feature.. not a TV Movie.. which pays considerably less.

      • A Fan of TV says:

        Generally that’s true, but we don’t actually know whether or not she was offered less, if money has even been discussed with her at all. But we also know she only made six figures for the first film, and if her contract was renegotiated for a movie we also know that TV pays its’ biggest stars seven figures an episode. Yes, as a TV movie this would be a massive paycheck, especially for a failing film series, but I’m assuming the same studio that released the theatrical films is releasing the last film on TV, and assuming that if it is important enough for them to properly wrap up the film series with its main character, even if there’s no plan for her to do the series that might come out of the planted pilot, they could potentially find the right number for her. Unless she’s afflicted by TV snobbery, then it likely won’t matter what she’s offered…

  11. David says:

    Every time she opens her mouth, something stupid comes out

  12. Hellenic78 says:

    She must not have heard of all those amazing actors that have joined TV shows. Her loss.

  13. R says:

    Well, it’s a good thing Shailene isn’t interested in doing a tv spin off because SPOILER ALERT!! Her character dies. Guess she has nothing to worry about. :)
    Also you’re welcome for saving you from having to finish a god awful series.

  14. Elizabeth Banko says:

    TV is good enough for Meryl Streep but not Shailene. Wow what an ego. Didn’t TV give her her start? Way to let Divergent fans down. I hope whoever takes over her role runs with it and blows her out of the water.

    • J.B. says:

      You obviously missed the part in the article where it mentions she is signed on to do a limited TV SERIES for HBO. They even provided the link to their own article about it.

    • Stephen A. says:

      TV pays less and requires a larger time commitment. You can’t say it’s snobbery without knowing her reasons for not wanting to.
      She got her start on TV and could possibly not want to be tied down for that long any more. TV shows usually require multi-year commitments.
      Her career comes before anything else.

    • Jami says:

      That is true. Meryl Streep started out on TV and still does TV. Woodley is a punk. Not a good actress IMO.

  15. CK says:

    I wonder how ironclad her contract is. She signed up for a film, but actors usually don’t get a say when it comes to how said film is distributed. They may forgo the prior contracts in favor of renegotiation to lower costs, but she, presumably, can’t back out because she doesn’t like the method of distribution.

    • LK says:

      Presumably they would no longer be paid their feature film prices if they make a tv movie so everyone would have to renegotiate.. I doubt any of the actors will come back.

  16. Luli says:

    They should never have split the last book, and now we are seeing the consequences for that dumb money making desicion.

  17. J.B. says:

    Here’s her FULL response from the Screen Rant article:
    “LAST I HEARD THEY WERE TRYING TO MAKE IT INTO A TELEVISION SHOW. [emphasis mine] 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.”

    So people need to calm down about her “dissing” TV. TVLine is clickbaiting with this article by not printing her WHOLE response. Maybe she doesn’t want to do one ever again, maybe she’s open to the idea if the right project came around. We don’t know.

    • J.B. says:

      Oh and I forgot to mention she is signed on to do a limited TV Series for HBO.
      So she is not done with TV work at this point.

    • johnhelvete says:

      Well she just finished filming Big Little Lies for HBO, so she is not completely against doing TV if it is the right project, but you are right she did not sign up to do Divergent The TV series or Divergent The TV Movie.

  18. parstl says:

    Maybe someone in the industry will take note and re think splitting the final installments/books just to have anot her day in the theaters. I can’t think of one instance where the strategy worked great, not even Harry Potter or HUnger Games.
    Woodley is a decent actress…she did not bring this franchise down. It would have been tough to follow Jennifer Lawrence who was good in the first two HG movies and had good advice in supplementing those movies with excellent real world dramatic films.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Twilight. The 4th book was perfectly structured to be split into two. I don’t know how the films’ finances broke down (cost vs. revenue) but for story-telling purposes it worked really well.

      • Yukiteru says:

        Really? Me and everyone of my friends think than Twilight 5 was so boring and without anything really interesting in the plote, and were wondering just why they need two movies for such a small amount of actual events…

  19. SJ says:

    Well someone’s getting too big for her britches… You started out on TV honey, and you’ll be right back where you started from as soon as Hollywood finds the next pretty young thing.

    • macd says:

      Ms. Woodley is a lot more than merely a “pretty young thing”. She’s a brilliant young actress who gave memorable performances in “The Descendants” and “The Fault in Our Stars”. But like most of today’s young actresses and actors, she has to do “paycheck” movies in order to do the quality work she is obviously interested in. Since Lionsgate has now decided to do the final “Divergent” film as a cut-rate TV-movie, she and everyone else involved in that woeful franchise should have nothing to do with it. And why would anyone want to turn this crap into a TV-series? Please!

  20. Dave says:

    The first book was good. The later two got progressively worse and the author turned her into this death-obsessed virgin sacrifice rather than making the relationships her character had realistic and compelling. So I am not surprised that the movies lost their following. The story stopped being fun.

    • TJ says:

      For me it felt like she just kept rehashing the same story line over and over again…. I get that she was very young but the best part of the movies is you can’t hear her inner dialogue where she has the same doubts over and over again. Now for HG, I thought that hurt the first movie a lot…. the whole inner dialogue being ignored. That is what drew me to the books and made the first movie feel stiff.

  21. Tee says:

    I’ve seen the whole series thus far and I’ve enjoyed every one. Nobody gave an Oscar worthy performance and it’s ok because they aren’t Oscar worthy books. There are other interesting characters in the movies than just her and not one of them is interested in doing a tv movie. Actually I’m not interested in seeing a tv movie.

  22. Well I don’t blame her at all! I thought the other movies were good and she was good too! I think seeing as it’s the last movie, they should just do it for the theaters, even if they have to lower the budget! Because they will make more from it that way, then by having it on TV! And what Network are they going to use? If they want it to really stand for something, they better pick one of the premium cable Networks like, HBO, Starz or Showtime! But watch them put it on SYFY instead, so people will just see it as one of their B movies of the week! All it is, is greed as always! And of course they want to make it into a TV series, which is probably the real reason they want to have the last one on TV! So it will help to launch the spin off, which will probably be on the same Network that the movie will be on,because it will be part of the deal, with the network!

  23. B says:

    there is very clearly NOT a ‘dis’ in ‘dystopian’

  24. Kar says:

    Everything after book 1 was horrible. Big mistake making this a trilogy based on what happens to Tris. It was NEVER going to be Hunger Games or Twilight

  25. Summer says:

    She’s great that that in that indie, realist sort of way, but I don’t think she was ever meant to be a popcorn action star.

  26. Tina says:

    I think she’s a good actress, I’ve watched her in movies and tv series and she’s good in both. I’ve enjoyed the Divergent series so far but it’s a shame to ruin it with a TV movie if it’s not made properly.

  27. Iris says:

    Oh, sweet child of summer.
    See you in a few years on CBS.

  28. Paloma says:

    Whereas her upcoming HBO show is not a TV show?

  29. TV Gord says:

    That’s a pretty snotty attitude from someone who starred in a TV show that I couldn’t tear my eyes away from for FIVE seasons because I was astonished by just how hilariously horrible it was!

  30. liame says:

    She was the wrong actress for this franchise.

  31. S. Gawreluk says:

    I would not watch a tv movie. I wsnt the final mivie on big screen. It wint work without original cast. Also not interested in a tv series. Dont push it.

  32. The biggest problem with this franchise is the ending of the series in the books. The author killed odd the main character, Woodley’s character, after making her out to be someone who could beat anything. It was a horrible cop out. Fans of the books revolted by refusing the see the movings. And that folks is how you make sure your series will never be a cult classic, kill off the main character – especially in a YA/NA series.

  33. Kenna Braley says:

    My name is Kenna Braley I would gladly take her place on the new series we look pretty alike! I get told that I look like her by strangers all the time. I have no clue to contact about this. If you ha e any clue please email me.