'Adrift' star Shailene Woodley criticises superficial activism: 'It's sexy to go to a protest...but it's not hard' (exclusive)

In recent years, Shailene Woodley has become as much known for her activism as she has for her acting.

The environmentally-conscious actress was a prominent feature on Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and founded All It Takes, a young leaders organisation to empower students, in 2010.

It was only two years ago that she stood with the Sioux tribe against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline that was poisoning the land and water in the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was given a year of unsupervised probation, which meant she was unable to attend any protests, though the actress tells Yahoo Movies that there’s more to social justice than just standing on the picket line.

“It’s sexy to go to a protest, it’s sexy to tweet something, it’s cool, it feels good to sign a petition but it’s not hard,” Woodley says. “What’s hard is being uncomfortable and teaching kids things that are different to what the system teaches us, and what society has for so long has taught us, so I think that’s where our focus needs to be.”

During her probation year, the actress filmed Adrift in Fiji with Sam Claflin, who says he finds his co-star’s activism uplifting.

“There’s something so inspiring to me especially because Shailene is younger than I am, I generally find myself looking up to her in many, many ways,” the actor says. “I think that the fact that she stands up for what she believes in, in more than a lot of people our age, is incredible.”

Although, Sam admits he’s not going to be heading out on the campaign trail any time soon as he wants to make the most of his downtime by spending it with his wife, Laura Haddock, and their two children.

“The difficulty that I find, personally, is that I’m a father and I’d rather be at home with my kids than be out on the campaign trail, honestly,” he explains. “It’s not to say that I don’t have those beliefs and those feelings but I’d rather be a good dad.

Sam Claflin says he’d rather spend time with his wife, Laura Haddock, and their two children than be an activist (Getty)
Sam Claflin says he’d rather spend time with his wife, Laura Haddock, and their two children than be an activist (Getty)

“That’s not to say that people that do it with kids are not good dads as well, that’s just me, personally.”

Shailene is supportive of this and says that it is far more important to be sharing love and compassion at home than it is to be fighting for social justice without those emotions at all.

“You can be on the campaign trail you can be on the frontlines, you can be in protests but if you’re a dick and not living a life that is kind then you are not creating real change,” she argues.

“I think there’s a lot to be said about being someone who has two children, and wants only to spend every single free second that you have to create these little beings [who] will go into the world and create more love and kindness and compassion.

“I would say that in many ways,” Shailene tells Sam, “you are a leader in this whole activist conversation.”

Adrift is out in cinemas on Friday

Sam Claflin on YA film genre’s demise
Benicio del Toro on finding his conscience in Sicario 2
How to make it as a comic book writer