Shailene Woodley Praises Edward Snowden as a "Hero," Plays His Girlfriend in New Oliver Stone Movie

"I would like to say thank you to him," the actress says

By Marc Malkin Mar 09, 2015 1:36 PMTags
Shailene Woodley, Edward Snowden Getty Images

The U.S. government may believe that Edward Snowden is a criminal, but Shailene Woodley doesn't.

In fact, the Insurgent star, who plays Snowden's longtime dancer-acrobat girlfriend Lindsay Mills in Oliver Stone's upcoming drama about the National Security Agency whistleblower, thinks he should be celebrated for his work.

"I define a hero as somebody, who against the judgment of other people, if they believe something will positively impact the world and they choose to do it and honor their integrity, that's what I sort of consider a hero, no matter how big or mall a feat they create," she told me this weekend while promoting Insurgent (in theaters on March 20). "And in that light, absolutely I think that Edward Snowden is a hero."

Woodley hasn't had the chance to talk to Mills or Snowden, but she'd like to.


"You are the epitome of the word selfless," Woodley said of Snowden, who has been living in Moscow since seeking asylum there in 2013 after facing espionage charges in the U.S. for leaking the classified information to the press. "You did something knowing you wouldn't be able to come home, knowing that your country would have very mixed feelings and yet your integrity on what you believe was right or wrong or should be public knowledge was more important to you than almost your own comfortability and the life that you had lived for so long. So I would like to say thank you to him."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the film as Snowden. Rounding out the cast are Zachary Quinto, Scott Eastwood and Nicolas Cage. Citizenfour, a documentary about Snowden and the NSA scandal, recently won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.

On a less serious note, Woodley said she learned how to pole dance for the film for Mills' YouTube videos showing off her performing skills.

"It's so much fun," Woodley said.

And so was filming Insurgent, the second of the four films in the Divergent franchise.

Summit Entertainment

"Our director [Robert Schwentke] brought so much excitement to the set," Woodley said. "And we were filming in Atlanta and it was the summer so there was a lot of sunshine and it felt like a really healthy way to make a movie."

Theo James said the cast and crew felt "a little bit of liberation" making the second movie because "you've already set the world up."

"The stakes are a little bit lower hopefully because you've vaguely achieved the first movie," he said with a laugh (Divergent's worldwide box office hit a whopping $288.8 million), adding, "So you get to push it a little bit more."

Insurgent is in theaters on March 20.

And make sure to come back to E! Online later on for more news and scoop from the Insurgent cast.

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