Shailene Woodley and Theo James had their work cut out for them when they signed on to bring the beloved main characters of Divergent (in theaters now) to life on the big screen. Playing heroine Tris Prior and her love interest Four certainly was a — ahem — dauntless task for the duo, and to master it, they focused on learning the ins and outs of their characters. “They have these soul-mate qualities and they fall in love very quickly,” James tells us.

For James, taking on the role of Four came naturally, as he shares some of his character’s protective qualities. “You always try and bring something of yourself to every character, and what I saw in him, and the story particularly, was this stoic, strong guy who has bravery but is also willing to admit weakness,” he says.

Woodley found her character just as easily identifiable. “Tris is an incredibly strong human being who isn’t bad-ass by nature, like a Katniss Everdeen,” Woodley told us when she sat down for our March issue. “I think everyone can identify with Tris regardless of whether their situations are similar or not. Who she is on the outside is incredibly different than who she is on the inside, and I think a lot of people are like that.”

Woodley very well could have been speaking of herself. She may be decked out on the red carpet in “30 pounds” of beads in Elie Saab Haute Couture, but the 22-year-old is most confident when she is herself and wearing minimal makeup. “I like to be comfortable, so that’s the ideal,” she says.

She and James certainly looked comfortable in the spread they did for our March issue in sunny Positano, Italy, donning spring’s relaxed cuts, lacy looks, and charming prints. Inside that issue, Woodley told us how she tends to gravitate to earth tones, while James admitted, “Men have it so much easier. We don’t get hassled as long as we’re not wearing a clown suit.”

Fawning yet, ladies?

And so back to that love story… Woodley assures us the connection between Tris and Four isn’t a toxic, co-dependent relationship. “They just admire each other, and that’s something very rare to find between two characters in film,” she said. “It was a big deal for me to be able to be part of a movie that accurately depicted what a healthy relationship could be for young people.” To see them in action, head to theaters now!

Plus, don’t miss their gorgeous feature from our March issue! Click through the gallery to see Shailene Woodley and Theo James like you’ve never seen them before.