Self-confessed "introvert" Shailene Woodley says lockdown has been "wonderful".

"Being home and having the opportunity to be alone has been a really big blessing," the Hollywood actress confesses over the phone.

The 28-year-old has been "sheltering in place" with her dog in her West Coast US home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But just because she's bunkering down at home, doesn't mean you won't be seeing the actress on your screen anytime soon. Her film 'Endings, Beginnings' is about to hit theatres in New Zealand after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in September last year.


Now, reflecting on the freedom she had on the virtually unscripted film, Woodley shared she "absolutely loved it".

The film follows her character Daphne, a 30-something woman, searching for a sense of identity after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend and quitting her job.

When she meets bad boy Frank (Sebastian Stan) and gentlemanly Irish writer Jack (Jamie Dornan) at a New Year's Eve party, she finds herself falling for both men, before discovering that they're best mates.

The whole film is improvised, loosely based on a screenplay by director Drake Doremus and Jardine Libaire. It gave Woodley and her co-stars the chance to "dig deep and be really open and honest", she says.

In the film, Woodley's character falls for both Jack and his best friend Frank. Photo / Supplied
In the film, Woodley's character falls for both Jack and his best friend Frank. Photo / Supplied

"That's not something you're often afforded to do in various movies," she tells me.

"When you improvise a movie, so much of what you say and do come from your own experience, so it really felt like an exploration of who we all were as individuals outside of the normal narrative system of acting."

At first, it seems as though Woodley wouldn't have much in common with Daphne - the thirty-something extroverted artist begins the film by swearing off men and alcohol and moving in with her sister.

But Woodley, who earlier this year broke up with Kiwi-Fijian rugby player Ben Volavola, says she was constantly drawing on her own experiences to play Daphne.


"I had gone through a lot of the issues of my character had gone through earlier on in my life," she admits.

And as someone who "really loves love", Woodley says the opportunity to explore what loving two people at the same time could feel like was fascinating.

It's not necessarily about a love triangle, she says. Rather, it's about a woman trying to figure out who she is.

"She seeks out different people who act as mirrors for her to self reflect on and understand why she has certain tendencies. We're conditioned to feel that one person can fulfil all of our whims and all of our desires. And that's just not possible. It's not true."

And while Daphne says in the film, "you can't have fire and comfort at the same time," Woodley thinks there's room for both.

"None of us can be defined by one particular totem and I think we're all constantly evolving and changing. That's what provides growth for us as human beings."

The film explores what it's like to be in a love triangle. Photo / Supplied
The film explores what it's like to be in a love triangle. Photo / Supplied

The film is at moments confronting and vulnerable, but her co-stars Jamie Dornan and Sebastian Stan created "room for safety" on set. They're "wonderful people" who "carry so much truth on their sleeves", she says.

"The three of us were able to establish a sense of vulnerability with one another."

In the film, much of the relationship development is shown over text messages. Woodley has been vocal about her dislike of texting and cellphones in the past.

"Anytime you text, you're approaching something from one perspective and it exists in a 2d universe," she says.

"It's difficult for others to necessarily know what your intentions behind particular words are. I'm a huge fan of face to face contact if that's not possible then FaceTime and if that's not possible, then at least a phone call because I think text messages can convolute a lot of intention."

So no texting to keep in touch with family during lockdown?


"So many FaceTimes. Just so many FaceTimes," she laughs.

Though much of her life is on hold due to coronavirus, she's planning to start work on a movie called 'Misanthrope' with director Damián Szifrón.

But like she says, "It all depends on Covid. There's really no answers right now."

Woodley hopes the pandemic won't change the collaborative aspect of filmmaking.

"The basis of making a movie is that everyone gets to be together and relish in the experience of community and it's essential for moviemaking, so it would be very sad to me if that had to change."

Who: Shailene Woodley
What: Endings, Beginnings
When: In NZ cinemas from July 9