'Divergent's Shailene Woodley Can Save You In a Crisis, But She Can Also Kick Your Butt

We've known for a while that Divergent star Shailene Woodley is an unconventional Hollywood actor. Not only does she live her life outside of the tabloid spotlight, but she exceptionally environmentally and health conscious. She collects her drinking water from the mountains, she makes her own cheese, her own toothpaste, and even creates her own medicine. "I don't get those from doctors," she said. So it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that not only is the actress living off the land, but she knows just what to do if disaster strikes.

"This earth is exciting, there are so many things happening," Woodley said at the Los Angeles press day for the film. I started studying indigenous cultures a few years ago and I was really inspired by their lifestyles and the way that they live, and part of that was knowing how to survive in the wild, and knowing how to heal themselves from the plants that grew around them and that's how I became interested in wilderness skills."

Yet as an actress of considerable note, who has a bevy of projects on her plate for 2014, how much time does Woodley have to spend exploring the wild? "I know how to build a fire out of sticks, I know how to find shelter, but I live 90 percent of my life in an urban environment, so these skills aren't really going to help me. There aren't trees that grow in Los Angeles that I can just take a branch and make fire out of because that wood isn't conducive for that," she said, noting that a friend's story of being stranded during Hurricane Sandy prompted the switch in interest.

"It's like, It's easy now, you turn on the shower, you do whatever, but especially right now in California with the drought, there are so many resources that we're depleting so quickly, so I thought it would be an interesting skill set to have in case something were to go down — or even if it weren't — it's just a hypothetical fun hobby."

Woodley's useful hobby had nothing to do with filming Divergent or any other role. But learning another, more aggressive skill — that of hand combat — certainly was. "If you do a big action movie and you don't walk away a little banged up, you're doing something wrong," the actress said. "The fight scenes are so intense. Specifically the one with Theo [James] at the end of the movie. That dude, he boxes in real life. He's strong and he's not afraid to be strong, so if I forgot to duck at the right time, I would have been out cold. That was a terrifying fight scene where my palms were sweating and my adrenaline was spiked the whole time. He's intense, and we were acting but at the same time it was like 'Oh wow, this is kinda real right now.'"

Another memorable scene from the film where stunt doubles weren't used, involved climbing to the top of an old Chicago ferris wheel. "We got to climb it during the full moon, and it was also a supermoon, which was really exciting for me. So we got to watch the moon cascade across the sky as we were climbing the ferris wheel, it was gorgeous. Im afraid of heights, but I love adrenaline. The adrenaline kept me going. The 20 degree weather that was the hardest part."

Divergent hits theatres Friday, March 21. Watch the trailer below:

Summit Screening Room on YouTube