I'm always thrilled when actors and actresses stand up for better roles for women in Hollywood — so needless to say, seeing Insurgent star Ansel Elgort's amazing words about Shailene Woodley fearlessly leading the Divergent franchise really made my day. The film franchise has undeniably taken the world by storm, and, of course, Elgort couldn't be more proud of Woodley (who he also starred with in last year's The Fault in Our Stars) and the fact that the franchise features action films with strong roles for women — something that, unfortunately, isn't often seen in big-budget Hollywood action films. The landscape is thankfully changing a little — films like The Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of Black Widow have pioneered this — but it's still not particularly common.
In this exclusive clip, Elgort shares his excitement for people to see Woodley in action again at the center of the Divergent franchise:
Not every action-adventure film has an actress like Shailene leading the way. And also, not every action adventure film has an actress or a woman leading the way who isn’t just there for sexual reasons. She’s there because she’s badass, and she’s actually the lead in this film and she carries it on her back. She’s not wearing a push up bra…so it's really nice that that’s changing now, and that should be appreciated.
If you're not familiar, The Divergent saga follows Tris Prior (Woodley), a woman who rebels against society when she realizes she doesn't want to go down any of the paths that had been previously laid out for her. Check out the exclusive clip with Elgort praising Woodley below:
Round of applause to Elgort for recognizing all of the crazy hard work Woodley and other actresses in Hollywood put in to make these action heroine roles into fully fleshed out characters who subvert the male gaze. Apart from Woodley, there have been a few other actresses who have carried the weight of entire big-budget franchises on their shoulders, and done it extremely well:
1. Shailene Woodley As Tris Prior In Insurgent & Divergent
It's always terrifying to go against everything you've ever been taught.
2. Jennifer Lawrence As Katniss Everdeen In The Hunger Games
Surviving the Hunger Games is one thing — but bringing down an entire government is something else entirely.
3. Emma Watson As Hermione Granger In Harry Potter
Harry and Ron would have never even passed their classes at Hogwarts had it not been for Hermione. Defeating He Who Must Not Be Named would have been impossible without her brilliance.
4. Scarlett Johansson As Black Widow In The Avengers
Marvel is slowly trying to unravel its gigantic comic book world, and Johansson as the badass assassin Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, is a fantastic step forward. Now she just needs her own franchise.
5. Rooney Mara As Lisbeth Salander In The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I've been waiting on the sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for what feels like a zillion years. Mara killed it as Lisbeth Salander, a world class hacker and all around badass.
6. Angelina Jolie As Lara Croft In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Jolie brought the popular bike-riding, gun-toting video game heroine to life in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.
7. Uma Thurman As The Bride In Kill Bill
Revenge is sweet, especially in this two part Quentin Tarantino martial arts saga. Uma Thurman starred as The Bride, a former assassin whose wedding party was massacred — so she massacres her would-be assassins.
There's still a long way to go when it comes to proper female representation in Hollywood, but it's safe to say that this is an amazing start.
Insurgent is available on digital platforms and will hit Blu-ray August 4.