March 26, 2014 12:00 PM

KATE WINSLET

JEANINE

Even Oscar winners can have new acting experiences. “I’ve never really played an evil person before now,” says Winslet, 38, who tackled the role of the Erudite tyrant while she was pregnant (she gave birth to son Bear in December). “Jeanine’s a master manipulator; she’s struck by how strident Tris appears to be. To Jeanine, Divergents are ruining the system, so her master plan is: Find and kill.”

RAY STEVENS0N

MARCUS

What was the most intense scene for the British actor – he plays Four’s abusive dad – to tackle? “When Four sees me in his fear landscape, and I’m about to make physical contact and hit him,” says Stevenson, who also played a bad guy on TV’s Dexter. “Marcus is painted as a demon when it comes to his family,” says Stevenson, 49, whose role will become even more prominent in Insurgent and Allegiant. “But more and more gets revealed, and nothing is what it seems.”

ASHLEY JUDD

NATALIE

The actress loved playing Tris’s mom because “it’s both fun and empowering to play someone very principled – a woman with a strong backbone, which she has come by through intense life experiences,” says Judd, 45. “In particular, I love that my character has opinions – for reasons even Tris doesn’t know – about which faction she chooses and why.” Judd was also impressed with the movie’s blockbuster budget. “The epic sets, the costumes, the attention to detail was astounding,” she says.

TONY GOLDWYN

ANDREW

“As a father of young women, playing Tris’s father really spoke to me,” says Goldwyn, 53, who’s best known for playing President Grant on Scandal. “I think my favorite scenes were the family scenes. We all fit together really well; we found this amazing chemistry, and we even kind of looked alike. It was really good casting.”

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