The rise and rise Shailene Woodley: The star of Baltasar Kormakur's latest film 'Adrift' is finally cutting loose

Shailene Woodley has come far from 'The Secret Life of an American Teenager' days. She's played a terminally ill girl, a leader of a clan, Snowden's gf, and a pregnant teen.


                            The rise and rise Shailene Woodley: The star of Baltasar Kormakur's latest film 'Adrift' is finally cutting loose

As far as films are concerned, Shailene Woodley has been quite the chameleon. She's played a terminally ill girl, she's played the leader of a futuristic clan, Edward Snowden's girlfriend, a pregnant teenager as well as a woman discovering her sexuality.

Now she's going to play the role of a young woman stuck at sea with no experience in sailing. 

Called 'Adrift', the film traces the tragic and inspiring journey of Tami and her fiance, Richard, as they sail into the Pacific ocean and are blindsided by one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history.

The storm hits and when Tami wakes up, she finds Richard seriously injured and of course, the boat in pieces. Cries for rescues fail and as she looks at Richard, she realizes she's their only hope. She must find a way to get them back to the shore, alive. 



The plot is actually inspired by the true story of Tami Oldham Ashcraft and Richard Sharp. It is based on her book, 'Red Sky at Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea'. In real life, however, Sharp doesn't survive. 'Adrift' is to hit screen everywhere this Friday, June 1. It is directed by the critically acclaimed Baltasar Kormakur. 



Woodley started her career in leading roles with ABC's 'The Secret Life of an American Teenager'. In the show, she played the role of Amy Juergens, a 15-year-old freshman who finds out she's pregnant. What follows is the way things escalate with her schoolmates, her family, and her relationships because of her teenage pregnancy. When the show aired in 2008, one thing was for certain, Woodley was definitely going to make a mark.

This show came out a year after 'Juno' the cult classic film on teen pregnancy, and at the time teenage pregnancy was a much bigger issue and cause of confusion than it is now. The show got mixed reviews from viewers but Woodley's performance was said to be the saving grace of the show.

We must point out that at the time, it was a brave choice to make in terms of her career, it could have gone either way. She has also appeared in shows like 'Big Little Lies' alongside Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, and Zoe Kravitz. She played the character of Jane Chapman, one of the three main protagonists on the show.  

Her next big hit came in the form of 'The Descendants' in 2011, where she starred with the one and only George Clooney. After this film, you knew that she was going places. Even though George was in the film, it was her performance that really stood out.

She portrayed the role of Alex, the not so tight-knit daughter of George Clooney's character Matt King. Her mum is in a coma and the two try to deal with the grief while trying to establish a bond. This role was a complete opposite of her role as Amy. While Amy was relatively timid, Alex is pretty wild.

 The New York Times critic A O Scott called Woodley's performance "one of the toughest, smartest, most credible adolescent performances in recent memory." 

This film also marked the beginning of her being part of films based on novels.

'The Descendants' is based on a novel written by Kaui Hart Hemmings. Her next big film would be the movie adaptation of a book by Tim Tharp. Called ' The Spectacular Now', the film was a typical coming of age, feel-good story; but what set it apart were the brilliant performances by Miles Teller and Woodley.

Woodley plays a sweet, charming and good two shoes "nice girl" Amiee Fineky who falls in love with Sutter Keely (Miles Teller). He's the life of the party, believes in living in the now and totally charming.

Amiee wants to invest in her future and has dreams of getting somewhere. 



If you want to know how quickly she can go from wild teen to sweet girl, the answer is lightning fast.

In this movie, she is unrecognizable from her last - her smile, her walk, her talk, even the way she looked at the other character on screen, all completely different. Her character in the film reminds one of Charlie Kelmeckis' character in 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'. Though the film plots are entirely different, these two characters have that same old sweet innocence that reminds you to do good things. 

By this time, she had already proved that she could act and it was just about picking what worked for her. With 'White Bird in a Blizzard', she found the rare opportunity to play a woman coming to terms with her sexual desires, relishing bodily pleasures and finding her way out of a household that has always suppressed their emotions.

All this, in a thriller! Starring Eva Green, this film was another step up in terms of her craft. 

Though it didn't do well at the box office, it did show everyone in Hollywood what Woodley brought to the table. Her work had become much softer, subtle and rich. She was honing her skills. She kept the perfect balance of doing unconventional as well as conventional roles. 

After her work as Kat Connors in 'White Bird in a Blizzard', we must mention the 'Divergent' series. It is her most successful film so far, the first part made $288 million in total. She played Tris Prior, a brave, selfless and righteous character, whose journey through the post-apocalyptic world makes her face her fears.

Unlike any other role so far, this three-part franchise film saw her do a lot of nonstop action and some solid acting. She also starred as Mary Jane Watson in 'The Amazing Spiderman 2'. 

While she was already quite popular, it was her portrayal of Hazel Grace in 'The Fault in Our Stars', the film adaptation of John Green's romance novel that really made her a household name.

The film follows the relationship between Hazel and Gus (Ansel Elgort), both of whom are suffering from cancer. They meet at a cancer support group and sparks fly.

Hazel, the pixie-haired girl with the love for acerbic wit and a disdain for the conventional was an instant hit amongst young adults everywhere. It was one of those sad movies that you actually would watch again. 

Although a sidekick role, I'm almost certain that Woodley must have jumped at the opportunity when she came across her next film - 'Snowden'. The movie tells the real-life story of Oliver Stone, who shook the world with his revelations about the NSA.

Woodley plays Lindsay Mills, his girlfriend who tries to save her relationship in the middle of one of the greatest government leaks of all time. 



'Adrift' is Woodley's first big film after 2016 and from the trailers, it definitely looks amazing. The film was actually shot in the ocean - near the Fiji islands.

Woodley's also done her action sequences by herself. Judging from all of her previous works, it wouldn't be a surprise, if she blows our minds away, again!