When Insurgent hits theaters in March 2015, viewers won’t be seeing the long-haired Tris (Shailene Woodley) they came to know in 2014’s Divergent, the first film in the trilogy based on Veronica Roth’s novels. Instead, the character will be rocking the blonde pixie cut Woodley sported at 2014’s San Diego Comic-Con (above right) this past weekend.
“This is what you’ll be seeing,” she told BuzzFeed while promoting the Divergent Blu-ray/DVD release. “I talked to the director [Robert Schwentke] because I didn’t want to wear a wig. I think wigs always look wiggy, especially in an action movie. We’re running so much and doing so much, I think, technically, a wig would have looked quite shitty.”
While Tris does get a shoulder-length haircut in the book, the filmmakers decided to embrace the pixie cut Woodley already had — a remnant of The Fault in Our Stars, the cancer drama she filmed between Divergent and Insurgent. “I think it’s cool to have a young heroine with short hair,” Woodley enthused, calling the overall aesthetic “more modern.”
Theo James, who plays Four in the Divergent franchise, sees the style as a constant reminder of how much his character’s girlfriend has changed since choosing the Dauntless faction in Divergent. “When I’m looking at Shai on screen, now you get a character progression in a visual way,” he told BuzzFeed. “There’s a maturity and a difference between the character here and in the first movie.”
And Tris’ hair isn’t the only thing that’s changing for Insurgent. “One thing about doing this movie that feels different from the first one is that felt very mathematical,” Woodley said. “The dialogue had a certain rhythm to it so there wasn’t a lot of room for changing it up. In this movie, we’re adding a lot of smaller beats to the scenes that aren’t necessarily on the page. So to work with people like Octavia [Spencer, who plays Johanna, leader of the Amity faction] and Naomi [Watts, who plays Evelyn, Four’s presumed dead mother], who are so good at that and so good at flowing with what naturally happens, that artistic license is very nice.”
“You have to honor the material for the first film because you have a fanbase, but when you come to the second one, if you you’ve done well with the first movie, you now have the ability to think outside the box,” James added. “And I think as long as you have good character progression — which is essentially Four and Tris, the anchors of the films — if you have that stuff right, then if you lose some kind of threads of different plotlines, it shouldn’t matter.”
He continued, “For example, in the book, Tris and Four are arguing quite a lot for various reasons, so we sat down with Robert to figure out the crux of what’s behind the problem and we discovered the problem was one of trust and not being able to share with each other in this crazy, fucked up world. Playing with that theme, we bring it into every element of each scene, and see how that progresses and damages their relationship. It’s physically impossible to honor every single tiny beat and Veronica would say that as well.”
But both actors promise Insurgent takes everything fans loved about the first film to the next level. “Factionless is an incredible world,” James said. “There’s a huge train sequence, which is this massive fight with Tris and Four and about 40 people. There’s also some amazing stuff when Tris is being forced to go through the Fear Landscapes with Jeanine [played by Kate Winslet]. It looks very special.
“Now that we’ve set up the world in the first one, you start with a movie that’s full of heart and a lot of action. It’s so much bigger and has all these rich themes of trust and betrayal and a love story between two people that you haven’t seen in films of this nature before!”