Interview by Susan Kamyab
It’s the most anticipated film of the year. Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening) is sure to have as much success as The Hunger Games and Twilight trilogies.
The first installment of the saga is set in a futuristic Chicago where people are divided into five distinct factions based on their personalities. Tris (Woodley) discovers that she is Divergent, meaning she does not fit into any of the factions; and soon discovers that in order to stay alive she must hide in a faction. The only problem is she chooses the most physically challenging one, Dauntless meaning “the brave.” As she struggles and fights through most of the film to prove herself to her new faction, she encounters many obstacles. This includes the hard-headed, tough leader Eric (Jai Courtney) and a non-stop competitive bully, Peter (Miles Teller). While training for Dauntless, Tris uncovers a horrifying plot forming in her seemingly perfect society.
The film held a special premiere in Dallas a couple weeks back. The “bad boys” themselves, Miles Teller and Jai Courtney, walked the red carpet and took pictures with many extremely enthusiastic Divergent fans. The next morning I got a chance to sit down with the two stars at Dallas’ Ritz Carlton Hotel to discuss the movie, the fans, and their fears. Now don’t be fooled by the characters they play. Their kindness and dry sense of humor made for one hilarious interview.
I have to give you guys props for last night on the red carpet. You handled your fans really well. I mean right when you (pointing to Miles) walked in, I saw you take a picture with a girl and she just grabbed your face and kissed you on the cheek.
Miles: “Yeah, yeah…”
Jai: “He’s use to that though; that happens all the time.”
Miles: “Yeah that’s, uh, you know, that’s a part of the business when you’re a heart throb (Jai laughs)… No. This one girl was like can I touch your hair? And I was like, yeah, sure. And she was like “oh God!” (Pulls hair and shakes head aggressively) Alright, so now I know if somebody asks “can I touch your hair?” I’m going to say “no.” So, like, you learn as you go. It’s hard in the moment though. It’s like; you (points to Jai) kissed a girl last night. You kissed a girl on the cheek, you told me.”
Jai: “I was kissing girls all over the place. It’s a free country.”
Miles: “Yeah, it’s a free country (laughs).”
Clearly your fans are very bold. What’s the boldest thing so far on this tour that a fan has done to you guys?
Miles: “Well this is our first stop on the tour…”
Jai: “Yeah that was it. You saw all of it. But it’s only going to get bolder from here.”
Miles: “…but teenage girls, they can be aggressive. I see One Direction videos, they’re…I mean no I don’t, (whispers) love them, Harry Style’s is my fav.” (Jai laughs)
Well you two play some not so nice characters in this movie. But I’d say the biggest “jerk moment” from both of y’all is probably when Eric had Peter beat up Tris.
Miles: “Well that’s a little; I mean it’s not really revealed like that.”
Jai: “I mean, it’s part of the training. I didn’t have Peter beat up Tris.”
I mean you basically set it up.
Miles: “Oh my God, obviously she’s on Tris’ side were not going to win this argument.”
Jai: “You’ve misinterpreted things grossly.”
Miles: “I mean we’re just trying to survive Dauntless; is all we’re trying to do.”
Jai: “It’s a training exercise. She’s going to face tougher guys than Peter out there in the real world.”
Miles: “Yeah, I mean not tougher, but (Miles takes at a tough man sniff) taller.”
Jai: “Yeah, taller.”
So obviously that scene wasn’t hard for you guys to shoot at all then?
Jai: Morally? No (Shakes head).
Miles: “Well I mean Shai, at first; they did it with Shailene’s stunt double. And they said look three guys grab her. And they told the stunt double to; you know, kick and do all that. And she beat the crap out of these three dudes. So I was nervous to get in there. But then they said, yo, choke Shailene out. And I was, like, get in here. Come to daddy. So, you know, just a little bit of that.”
The funny thing is that there are some fans that want Peter and Tris together, even though he’s so horrible to her.
Miles: “I know right?”
And I think that stems from a girl wanting a bad boy still. Why do you guys think girls want the bad guy, even when they’re so horrible to them?
Miles: “I mean we’re more exciting. You know, like, nice is very cliché. You want a nice guy to go to the donut shop. If you want a bad boy, you better be able to role with the punches. (Jai laughs) We’re sexy. We look good in leather.
Jai: “Right?” (Looks to me)
Miles: “You tell me. What are you into? Do you like a bad boy?”
I think I like a… well there is an excitement to them, but I prefer a gentleman, and you can be a bad boy as long as you’re a gentleman.
Jai: “You can be a bad boy and a gentleman.”
Miles: “Right, well I think that girls think that they can make a bad guy change. I think for girls that’s the challenge. But most of the time, they don’t change. But I’d love for Peter and Tris to hook up.”
I think I’d like to see that.
Jai: “Yeah I’d watch that.”
Miles: “Yeah, right?”
We get to see a lot of the characters greatest fears in this movie, and like Four said, “Everybody is afraid of something.” So what is something that you guys are afraid of?
Jai: “I’m not much into arachnidan.”
Miles: “What is, is that a spider?
Jai: “Yeah, Not into spiders.”
Miles: “Spiders or snakes, what would freak you out more? Cause there’s two different movies about them?”
Jai: “See snakes don’t freak me out. I don’t want to get bitten by one, but like I would hold one.”
Miles: “You would hold one? You’re cool with that? What about sharks, great white sharks?”
Jai: “Grew up wrestling them dude.”
You (To Jai) are a bad boy.
Jai: “You know it.” (Miles laughs)
Miles: I don’t like cats, I’m not afraid of them…
Jai: “Cats suck! I’m with you on that.”
Miles: “…I’m allergic to them. I feel like a cat is, like, plotting to kill me.”
Jai: “We’re going to lose fans here.”
Miles: “Were going to lose our cat audience here. That’s fine; we got our dog audience…Oh, losing my youth! I’m afraid, I mean, I’m not afraid of getting old.”
Jai: “You’re getting old man.”
Miles: “Dude, you’re like 32 years-old man.”
Jai: “We’re the same age brother.”
Miles: “No we’re not!”
Jai: “Yes, we are (Laughs).”
Miles: “There’s no way this (Points to himself) is the same age, man. Look at you.”
Jai: “He can’t come to grips with that.”
To set the record straight, both Miles and Jai are 27 years-old.
Divergent hits theaters March 21.
- “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” Interview With The Stars And Director - September 9, 2021
- “Summertime” Interview w/ Carlos Lopez Estrada & Kelly Marie Tran - July 16, 2021
- Interview: “In the Heights” w/ Filmmakers & Cast - June 9, 2021