Shailene Woodley hasn't made headlines for her work as an actress lately, with her engagement to quarterback Aaron Rodgers drawing attention away from her projects. That's about to change though, thanks to the Netflix release of The Last Letter From Your Lover on July 23. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Woodley, 29, talked about filming sex scenes and the kind of conversations she has with directors before filming them. She also has a very specific issue with how sex scenes in movies.
“I’ve never felt uncomfortable doing intimate scenes because I’m very vocal,” Woodley, whose 2020 film Endings, Beginnings included multiple sex scenes. "I always sit down and talk with the director, the other actor. We always have conversations of, ‘How are you planning on shooting it? Is nudity necessary? Is it going to distract from the scene, add to the scene?’ We know exactly what the boundaries are." Woodley said she has never worked on a production where her concerns have been ignored.
Realism is also important to Woodley, and that sets her intimate scenes apart from others. "Oftentimes in movies, you see two people having sex and the woman has her bra on, and in real life, I don’t think I ever did that, sex with a bra — or very, very rarely," Woodley told THR.
Endings, Beginnings director Drake Doremus went on to praise Woodley as a "throwback" to French stars of the 1960s who were not afraid to be direct onscreen. "She owns her sexuality in a way that’s just so liberating and magical. She’s able to use her gut and her intuition a lot. She’s chill and easy and present and kind and thoughtful and humble," the filmmaker explained. "And just so not — I hate to say the word, but — actory."
Elswhere in her interview with THR, Woodley shared a little bit about a "pretty debilitating" health condition that stopped her from taking some roles. She is feeling better now, but the illness still left its mark. “I’m on the tail end of it, which is very exciting, but it’s an interesting thing, going through something so physically dominating while also having so many people pay attention to the choices you make, the things you say, what you do, what you look like,” she told THR, without naming the condition. “It spun me out for a while. You feel so incredibly isolated and alone. Unless someone can see that you have a broken arm or a broken leg, it’s really difficult for people to relate to the pain that you’re experiencing when it’s a silent, quiet and invisible pain.”
Woodley's next movie is The Last Letter From Your Lover, which hits Netflix this week. The film is based on the book by Jojo Meyes and stars Felicity Jones as a London journalist how finds a set of letters from the 1960s that detailed a star-crossed love affair and tries to find out how the lovers' story ends. Woodley stars in the 1960s scenes, alongside Callum Turner and Joe Alwyn. She also recently starred in Jodie Foster's The Mauritanian and completed work on the upcoming police drama Misanthrope.