George Clooney's Teenage Rebel
Etkin, Jaimie, Newsweek
Byline: Jaimie Etkin
Shailene Woodley makes the leap from a soapy TV series to an A-list film.
The roster of George Clooney's leading ladies is formidable: Julia Roberts, Vera Farmiga, Julianna Margulies, to name a few. But in Alexander Payne's new film, The Descendants, he faces perhaps his toughest challenge: a teenager with a chip on her shoulder.
Teen TV star Shailene Woodley plays Alex, a disgruntled, drunk 17-year-old who returns from boarding school after a water-skiing accident lands her mother in a coma. She's forced to guide her emotionally inept father (Clooney) and counsel her younger sister through the crisis. While Clooney is getting some of the greatest reviews of his career, it's Woodley, 19, who steals the show. (In a standout scene, her character gets a dose of bad news and bawls underwater.)
Woodley has had plenty of experience playing an angsty teen. For four seasons, she's portrayed Amy Juergens, an adolescent mom on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She sports turtle-necks, flips her side-swept bangs, and tosses off the show's PG-13 dialogue about safe sex, all while holding a baby on her hip. …