Shailene Woodley: Working non-stop since ‘Descendants’

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The 20-year-old’s star-making turn opposite George Clooney in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” not only won her rave reviews and a raft of awards (including an Independent Spirit Award for supporting actress and a Golden Globe nom) but also turbo-charged an already hot career.

Woodley, who stars in the hit ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (which recently completed 100 episodes), has also been working on back-to-back features: “This past year’s been a total whirlwind, and I haven’t really had time to stop and analyze it,” she says.

But the L.A. native does know that “it’s no overnight success. I started off doing commercials and TV when I was just 5.” Her first TV role was in the 1999 telepic “Replacing Dad,” “and it took me 15 years to get to ‘The Descendants,’ ” she says.

Already a veteran in the business, Woodley has absorbed some “key lessons” from the likes of Payne and Clooney. “They’re so passionate and compassionate in how they approach work and life, and they stressed the importance of being choosey. You can get a ton of offers, but the script has to be there, and I really respond to movies that make me feel. If I’m not passionate about a project, I’m not going to do it, regardless of who’s involved.”

Woodley, who just signed on to Gregg Araki’s “White Bird,” says she has “no real career plan” beyond focusing on movies in the future. “They’re my real passion,” she says.

Impact: ” ‘The Descendants’ opened up so many doors and opportunities,” says the actress.
Next: Shooting “Spectacular Now,” directed by James Ponsoldt — “a truthful coming-of-age story that accurately depicts the trials and tribulations of being an adolescent.”
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