'Divergent' star Shailene Woodley tapped Jennifer Lawrence for advice

(L-R) ZoŽ Kravitz and Shailene Woodley in

(L-R) ZoŽ Kravitz and Shailene Woodley in "Divergent."

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:00 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- You know that post-apocalyptic movie about an empowered young woman who fights her way to freedom? You know, the one taken from a best-selling trilogy of books for young adults.

No, not The Hunger Games, the other one.

It speaks to the parallels betweeen the two projects, that the filmmakers of Divergent will only refer coyly to "that other movie."

One who doesn't shy away from it is Shailene Woodley, who plays the heroine Tris, a conflicted rebel in a future Chicago where people have assigned roles in life, and to multitask is to court execution.

Given that the book series by Veronica Roth has sold five million copies, and Woodley has a three-movie contract, she contacted the only person in the world who'd understand what she faces -- Jennifer Lawrence.

"We had one conversation. I still have yet to meet Jen, which is kind of funny because I'm talking about her so much right now," the outspoken and eccentric Woodley told the press last week.

"But yeah, I sent her an e-mail because I was curious, y'know?

"She'd gone from doing indie films to doing Hunger Games, which is a giant film obviously. And I wondered if it had changed her life in positive ways, if she was happy with her decision. Because I had zero reference."

Her advice? "She said, 'Don't do anything stupid, don't do drugs, and don't make a sex tape. And don't go to Whole Foods the day the movie opens, and other than that you'll be fine.'

The tale of the tape might suggest JLaw might be better able to handle herself as a post-apocalyptic warrior than the physically-slighter Woodley (who first grabbed attention as George Clooney's daughter in The Descendants).

But Woodley is unusual. Her hobbies include survivalism, literally being dropped in the forest with only a hatchet and a gun and left to fend for herself. "I started studying indigenous cultures a few years ago. I'm really inspired by their lifestyles and how they lived. And part of that was knowing how they survived in the wild and how to heal themselves from the plants that grew around them."

Of late, she's been studying urban survivalism. "I realized, 'Cool, I know how to make fire from sticks and I know how to make shelter, but I live 90% of my life in an urban environment.' Especially with the draught in California right now and the resources we're depleting so quickly, I thought it would be an interesting skill-set to have."

So she's perfect for the world of Divergent, set 100 years after "the war." But she also found personal connections to Tris, a girl born to a family of Abnegation (a selfless faction, dedicated to political life and society), but who longs to belong to the more exciting Dauntless, the soldiers, who live reckless lives of martial training (meanwhile, Jeanine, played by Kate Winslet, and the brainiacs of Erudite quietly covet power).

"A lot of Tris has resonated with me, because when I was her age, maybe 17 or 18, I was going through a similar struggle. I was raised by two psychologists who are the most beautiful, selfless people. So compassion and empathy are engrained into my system.

But as a teenager, I was like, how do I balance being empathetic and also living my life for myself?

"And really live my life like that. I receive my happiness from my own experience rather than from people-pleasing. And Tris was raised in a society where she had to be selfless, and she joined this other faction which is all about being selfish."


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