LOS ANGELES — Having starred in three “Divergent” films now, Shailene Woodley has a good sense of the traits she shares with her character, the strong-willed Tris.
“Well, we’re both pretty stubborn, and confident of our ability to get things done. We’re also both fighters. In a fight-or-flight situation, we would both fight.
“As for differences, I would say I’m less impulsive than Tris is. I would say I’m still impulsive, in many ways. But she’s incredibly impulsive physically, and because of that, a lot of situations could have been avoided had she not been so pro-active in her physicality.”
Speaking of physicality, Woodley laughed about all the action sequences she has worked through on these “Divergent” movies. “The most difficult thing for me — that I have to do for real — is all the running. I hate running! And there’s so much running in all these films!”
The issue of power corrupting — and absolute power corrupting absolutely — has been a constant in the series based on the novels by Chicago author Veronica Roth. That remains the case in “Allegiant” (opening Friday).
Theo James, who plays the role of Four, noted that “in this film that issue is really conflicting for Four, since his own mother Evelyn [played by Naomi Watts] is the one wielding the power, exacting revenge for all the things Janine [Kate Winslet, whom she killed] wreaked upon the other factionless people earlier.”
Yet, James said there is one major aspect of “Allegiant” he understandably likes a lot.
“In the first two films, the story is really told principally through the eyes of Tris, and that’s fine, since it sets up the core elements of the ‘Divergent’ saga.
“But here, you also see a lot of things through the eyes and perspective of Four. I liked that the audience now gets to see a number of things — including his suspicions about David [Jeff Daniels] and the people running the all-powerful Bureau.
“Of course, Four and Tris’ different take on things over all leads them to become somewhat estranged for a bit, but when they finally do reconcile, they come back as a much stronger couple, who care even more deeply for each other. Besides, I think it shows they now respect each other even more as well.”
Can he virtually finish Woodley’s sentences at this point? James smiled and said, “Absolutely. When you are good friends with the person you’re working with on-screen, it makes it all so much easier. You develop a sort of shorthand, and that helps as you jointly interpret every scene you share.
“Because I know Shailene well in real life — as I do all of the other key members of the cast, after having shot these three films together — it did make shooting this third film much easier, despite all the physical stuff we had to do. It also makes me look forward to begin filming the fourth movie this summer back in Atlanta.”
Setting himself apart from his character Four, James said, “For one thing, he wears his pants much tighter than I do. I like baggier pants. I don’t think I need to show off my goods quite the way he does.
“Plus he’s far more serious than I am. … I’d like to think I’m a bit more fun to be around.”
Even if he does not wear such tight pants.