Jane Chapman's A Taurus: What Shailene Woodley Does To Connect With Her Characters

Shailene Woodley - Big Little Lies

Every actor has their own methods. It's a craft with many different possibilities and sensibilities, often fluctuating based on the project, the fellow collaborators and what is required for the role. There is no simple style when it comes to acting. Everyone has their process, and that's certainly true for Shailene Woodley. The young actress has proven herself in a variety of film and TV projects in her early career, and the ways through which she gets into character — be it Jane Chapman in Big Little Lies, Alexandra King in The Descendants or Tris in The Divergent Series — are... peculiar.

More specifically, Shailene Woodley gets herself into character through astrology. While normally, people might use astrology to get a sense of their own fates or their own personalities, Woodley uses this pseudoscience to garner a lasting understanding of her characters and how she can relate to them on a psychological level. Clearly the results speak for themselves when it comes to the number of terrific performances from Woodley's rising career, but it's certainly intriguing, to say the least, to know that she relies on this method to get in-tune with the characters she plays on-screen.

As she explained to Vulture, Shailene Woodley told a crowd at 92nd Street Y that she often connected to her characters, including Big Little Lies' Jane Chapman, through astrology, and The Fault in Our Stars actress builds an entire star chart for her characters. Woodley claims that this process allows her to understand the psychology of these characters, whether real or fictional, and she gains an understanding of how, for instance, they're shy, outspoken or anything else. Thankfully, it sounds like this process has found few faults when it comes to aligning the stars and providing great work.

While she didn't disclose the chart for all of her popular characters, Shailene Woodley revealed that Jane Chapman is a "Taurus with a touch of Sagittarius and Aquarius." In the conversation, here's how Woodley described the process of finding out Jane's chart and learning to become her:

I really see her sun sign as a Taurus, but then having some Sag in there somewhere. I think she can be really funny. I think she’s got some Aquarius in there as well because I think the way she sees the world and its possibilities is a little different. The biggest thing for her that is interesting in building a chart is that she — because of the trauma that she had and the trauma that she still has, it changes the way that those things are fired off.

Admittedly, Shailene Woodley knows there are people who aren't going to understand why she does what she does. It's an unusual method, even for the typically kooky folks in Hollywood, but Woodley doesn't mind those poking fun at her methods. Whether people understand it or not, she loves it. As she put it:

I love it so much. It’s such a woo-woo thing. Sometimes people think it is, but I think it’s actually really cool. I was like, ‘You, witch lady, are not teaching me anything,’ and she knew me better than anyone, and it really freaked me out. But to me, astrology just gives you permission to be yourself without judgment. That’s what I’ve been able to help build my characters from.

In addition to helping the actress find her process through her characters, astrology has helped Shailene Woodley through bouts of depression and times of personal struggle. Clearly even if some folks don't really understand it, it is a meaningful and lasting part of the actress' life and well-being.

Meanwhile, Shailene Woodley continues to impress audiences and critics alike through her performances. Most recently, Big Little Lies Season 2 garnered a mixed reception as a continuation of the acclaimed HBO series, but Woodley's performance was once again acclaimed for his vulnerability and emotional rawness. Additionally, Woodley received good notices for her lead performance in the real-life survival drama, Adrift, released last year.

And hopefully, we can count out lucky stars that Shailene Woodley will continue to impress audiences with her impressive and daring on-screen work.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.