Shailene Woodley Closing in on Deal to Star in 'Divergent'

2012-29 FEA A-List Shailene Woodley P
<p>Shailene Woodley demonstrated her acting chops in the Oscar-nominated &quot;The Descendants&quot; and is said to have caught the eye of &quot;Fifty Shades of Grey&quot; author E.L. James.</p>
Neil Burger is directing the adaptation of Veronica Roth's young adult novel.

Shailene Woodley, who just booked the coveted role of Mary Jane in the Spider-Man sequel, is closing in on a deal to star in Divergent, Summit/Lionsgate’s adaptation of Veronica Roth’s YA novel.

Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher are producing, as is Pouya Shahbazian. Neil Burger is directing.

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The Divergent novel, published in May 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books, is set in a future society that is divided into factions based on human traits.

Woodley will star as a 16-year old who leaves her group to join a rival faction and falls in love with a young man.

Although she had been acting for years, Woodley caught the attention of most in Hollywood when she co-starred opposite George Clooney in Alexander Payne’s awards darling The Descendants. The role garnered her much acclaim as well as a Indie Spirit Award for best supporting actress.

She stars in The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which was canceled last week. ABC Family will play out the last 12 episodes starting in March. Woodley also will be seen in The Spectacular Now, being produced by Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps. 

Woodley initially had scheduling issues as an obstacle to the dealmaking, having had offers to play both Mary Jane and the Divergent lead. But the Mary Jane role is proving to be only a very small part in Amazing Spider-Man 2 but blossoms into an integral lead for the planned third movie as the studio seeks to build to the classic "Death of Gwen Stacy" story.

She is repped by Paradigm, Principato Young Entertainment and Felker Toczek.