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You should prepare to hear a lot more about Shailene Woodley in the next few years. While she has been the star of The Secret Life of the American Teenager for years now, last year she was given the chance to show her skills in more adult-oriented fare, starring as George Clooney's daughter in Alexander Payne's The Descendants, and she truly knocked it out of the park (and was totally robbed of an Academy Award nomination). At only 20 years old, Woodley will have many years to only improve and that will start with The Spectacular Now, according to Variety.
The trade reports that the actress has been signed on to star in the adaptation of Tim Tharp's award-winning novel, which will be directed by James Ponsoldt. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the story follows a young girl (Woodley) who teaches an alcoholic high school senior that "living only for the moment may not be all it's cracked up to be." The movie is described as a dramedy.
While Ponsoldt has been directing features since 2006, starting with the drama Off the Black, his most recent film, Smashed, played to rave reviews at this year's Sundance Film Festival and is set to be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. That film stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul as an alcoholic married couple that is tested when the wife decides to turn her life around and get sober (it would seem that Ponsoldt has an affinity for characters that like the bottle). Lee Toland Krieger, whose film Celeste and Jesse Forever also played at this year's Sundance, was originally attached to direct, but had to depart due to scheduling issues.
The project is the first that Shailene Woodley has signed on for since the release of The Descendants. Hopefully it will keep her career trajectory to continue on its upward path.