Coming-of-age movie queen, Shailene Woodley, who is now 22 years old, has turned in more impressive work in White Bird in a Blizzard. She plays an angry teen, Kat, who keeps her distance from her parents (I guess we all went through that). We don’t see the rebellious side of Shailene, but yes, she had a time that was similar to Kat. What was she like when she was a teenager? Was she a rebel? We asked your questions!
Q: Do you relate to Kat? Did you create walls between you and your parents?
Oh yeah, I definitely went through my own version of teenage angst. I think we all do. [Laughs] Mine was a very angry year. I think that’s just part of the growing process.
Q: Could you talk about emotional journey of this role?
That’s something that I really loved about this role, is Kat, even though she is an adolescent, she’s extremely mature and strong and confident in a way that you don’t often see in coming-of-age films. And I think part of that lends itself to the fact that her parents weren’t emotionally available for her when she was a child, and so she had to age herself quickly and realize that for her own survival, she had to be her own parent. And then as we evolve and as we grow, the things that you suppress always sort of sneak up on you. And I thought it was interesting, the juxtaposition of her as a teenager sort of having so much anger and disrespect for her parents, in a way, and she really tried to be somebody else, somebody that they weren’t. And then when you see her at university, you sort of realize that she’s subconsciously becoming her mother, and subconsciously has some of her father’s traits. I think that’s something that we often do. The things that we try to run away from end up running towards us.
Q: Could you talk about the intimate scene, especially with Thomas Jane’s character? Did you feel creepy?
As a human being, it wasn’t a creepy thing to do. It was a more clinical thing to do. You know, the thing about intimate scenes in movies is it’s not like it’s a sexy environment, or that you’re really heated in the moment. It’s sort of very clinical action. And I really loved that scene. When I first read the script, that was probably, actually, one of the butterfly moments. Because you don’t ever see that unfold, and yet I think that that’s something that a lot of… not maybe a lot, but some young people do. And I think that it’s something that definitely a lot of young people think about. I don’t know, to prepare for a scene like that, you just have to learn your lines and show up and see what happens. You know, there’s not really a lot of preparation. Thomas Jane is so good, and he was so fun to work with because he was very much in the moment. And every time we did it, it was a little bit different. Yeah, I love that scene.
Q: How did you feel about revealing so much?
Revealing so much physically? I felt like it was very truthful, and I felt like it lent itself to this movie, and that it wasn’t exploitative. There’s something that bothers me about seeing people have intimate scenes in films, and the woman has clothes on and has full make-up, and the man has boxers. That’s just not how it works. So my opinion is that intimacy is a natural part of being a human being. And especially when you’re young, you’re exploring that part of yourself for the first time. And I think that a lot of films that have young people in it don’t often explore that factor because of various reasons. But I do love Gregg’s films in that way, because they are truthful and they’re daring. Especially this one.
White Bird in a Blizzard opens October 24th in theaters.