Shailene Woodley on What She Learned After Working with Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep

Big Little Lies Cast
LOS ANGELES - FEB 7: Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon at the "Big Little Lies" Series Premiere at TCL Chinese Theater on February 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA - Image ( Kathy Hutchins /

Shailene Woodley shares how she approaches acting and what she’s learned by working with professionals.

Shailene Woodley has appeared in several popular films such as ‘The Spectacular Now’ and ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’ She also worked on TV with the HBO hit drama ‘Big Little Lies.’ Her most recent movie is the romance drama ‘Endings, Beginnings,’ which was set to hit theaters in May but released digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a way to promote the project, Woodley was interviewed by her co-star, Sebastian Stan, for Interview magazine. Woodley opened up on her process to choose a project and what she learned from working with other actors.

Woodley says her decision to take a project comes down to her feeling after reading a script. She says,  “If I’m reading a story and I have butterflies in my stomach, I’m in. If I don’t, I’m not. There have been a few times when incredible opportunities have come around, and I have not had that gut reaction, and everyone around me has said, ‘You have to do this movie because it’s this director or it’s this actor.’ But I haven’t had that gut reaction, so I passed.”

Shailene Woodley
LOS ANGELES – FEB 7: Shailene Woodley at the “Big Little Lies” HBO Series Premiere at TCL Chinese Theater on February 7, 2017 in Los Angeles, CA (Editorial credit: Joe Seer /

Woodley also received praise for her performance in ‘Big Little Lies,’ which she received nominations for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Woodley says the series gave her the chance to work with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. As a result, she learned from that acting opportunity in ways that have impacted her career.

“Working with Meryl [Streep] was fascinating because she has somehow mastered the art of performance, of knowing every single tick about her character, while also marrying that with complete and utter presence, which is a skill I don’t have yet. Nicole [Kidman] is very similar. They know inside and out who their characters are. That must come from experience. When you work with people who are better than you, or who you admire, you show up differently to set. And I have to say, I just f—ing love working with professionals. Whether you’re someone who’s been on one movie set or you’re Meryl Steep, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters is your sense of adoration and passion for the craft of acting. I get frustrated when I work with people who don’t seem to appreciate the gift that we’re given as actors to be able to express ourselves in this way. I just finished working with Jodie Foster, and there is no one on this planet like her.”

Woodley recently opened up about why she previously took a break from acting. Shailene Woodley opened up about a terrifying physical situation she experienced in her early 20’s at the pinnacle of her acting career while making the Georgia-filmed “Divergent” movies. In an interview with the New York Times‘, Woodley says she was “very, very sick,” forcing her to “let go” of her acting career and leading roles.

“I haven’t spoken much about this yet publicly, and I will take one day, but I was very, very sick in my early 20s. While I was doing the ‘Divergent’ movies and working hard, I also was struggling with a deeply personal, very scary physical situation,” she said. “Because of that, I said no to a lot of opportunities because I needed to get better, and those jobs ended up going to peers of mine who I love. They went on to a lot of success, but there was a mix of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t have let that go!’ or ‘You shouldn’t have been sick!’”

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