Shailene Woodley May Be the Next Jennifer Lawrence

shailene woodleyThis weekend the movie Divergent opened number one at the box office with an estimated $56 million, grossing $22.8 million on Friday alone. With the second and third installments scheduled for release in the next two years, and its strong opening weekend, the series is sure to be the next big franchise. Divergent has gotten mixed reviews, but they have all been positive for the film’s lead actress. She may not be on the cover of every pop magazine, or worshiped like Jennifer Lawrence, but she has been on the rise of late. Shailene Woodley, at 22-years-old, is already a successful actor and may turn out to be the next Jennifer Lawrence.

It is never easy to predict who will be the next big actor in Hollywood, but if the Divergent star follows Jennifer Lawrence’s path, it may be easier than usual to predict this one. The Fault in Our Stars is a movie adaptation of a book and will be released this summer. The film follows two teenagers that both have cancer and fall in love. The boy has a prosthetic leg and the girl has to breath with the aid of an oxygen tank. Both characters, despite their circumstances, are funny, quirky and trying to make the best of their current situations. The film is serious, with a light heart, and the cast says the movie is not about cancer, but rather a story of two people who fall in love and know they only have time left to do it this once.

The Fault in Our Stars deals with real life problems, offbeat characters and serious situations, while staying true to life and finding the good in a bad situation. The movie has some striking similarities to Silver Linings Playbook; a man and woman dealing with difficult personal situations find love with an unexpected person, while the movie as a whole strives to find humor in serious situations. Shailene Woodley plays the main girl in The Fault in Our Stars, and like Jennifer Lawrence, this role may be her ticket to the next Academy Awards.

The Divergent star and Ms. Lawrence have had similar career paths. Both started acting young and their first roles were in commercials. They both graduated to TV series and TV Movies, gaining experience and developing positive track records. In 2010 Winter’s Bone was released and its star, Jennifer Lawrence, was showered with critical praise and received her first Academy Award nomination. The next year she was in X-Men: First Class and followed that up with The Hunger Games. Both were popular movies, but Lawrence was the star of the latter and she went from relative unknown, to household name over night. Shailene Woodley, after years of smaller roles like Lawrence, stared in The Descendants with George Clooney in 2011. This was also her first commercially successful film that she had a starring role. She too was praised and nominated for a Golden Globe for her role. After a stint on The Secret Life of the American Teenager she stared in the recently released Divergent, and The Fault in Our Stars will be released later this year.

There are a lot of similarities, but getting a Golden Globe/Oscar nomination, staring in an early Spring blockbuster movie, and following that with a well acted, dark-comedy is not going to make any actress the next Jennifer Lawrence; Kristen Stewart gained critical praise for Into the Wild and followed that up with Twilight, but she does not have the nominations, and never got past teen idol status. Both the star of Divergent and Lawrence possess a certain personality type that Hollywood is attracted to; good actors that can carry a summer blockbuster and star in award season movies. Perhaps it is coincidence since they both have nominations and star in very similar blockbuster movies, which they both received critical applause for. At the time, no one expected the young girl from The Hunger Games to win an Academy Award, but it happened. Jennifer Lawrence is a year older than Shailene Woodley, so by this time next year, the Divergent star may be the one tripping up the stairs to receive her Oscar, and Hollywood may have found their next big star.

Opinion by Chris Dragicevich




Los Angeles Times

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