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The Giver's Odeya Rush and Alexander Skarsgard fearful "sharks will bite your fingers off"

Shanee is a screenwriter and educator living in Los Angeles. She created the web series She Blinded Me w Science to encourage young girls to explore science and technology. You can also read her blog where she chronicles her filmmaking ...

The actress is one brave girl!

Best known for her work in the film The Odd Life of Timothy Green, this young actress is as talented as she is beautiful.

The Giver

Photo credit: The Weinstein Co.

Odeya Rush is just 17 years old, and this opportunity to play the role of Fiona in The Giver was certainly not wasted on her. We asked her what drew her to this film.

"It was such an incredible character, especially for someone my age, you don't get offered a lot of roles like that. It's such a powerful and emotional story," Rush said.

EXCLUSIVE: Take a look at The Giver's character posters >>

But the wise beyond her years actress had even more to say about Fiona's journey. "She starts out not able to express any feeling or emotion, just like the rest of the community. And then as Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) goes through this evolution of developing feelings and love for her, she also starts following in his footsteps.

"She doesn't want to rebel and she isn't completely sure of what love is. She's not entirely able to feel things the way that The Giver and Jonas are, but I'm not just neutral like I was in the beginning. It's kind of an interesting place to be — in between emotional states," she said.

So could the actress relate to being "in between emotional states"? "No," she said emphatically. "I'm so emotional! I think just as a teenager, with all my hormones or whatever, I'm always emotional. Even if I watch a movie that's really good, I get emotional about how good the movie was."

Rush also told us how acting with Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep was kind of a surreal thing. "I've just idolized them for so long, I've seen all their movies. You're acting with them, and you're in the moment, and you're not, 'Oh, my god, Meryl!'" she said.

So, did she learn anything working with such acting powerhouses?

"Jeff said it's great that I'm always game for anything, and that's really important. You could see that with him and Meryl, Brenton and Katie [Holmes] and everyone. They were all open-minded about the scenes and never rigid. So, that was something I learned from them," Rush said.

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We wanted to know if Odeya, whose name means "thank God" in Hebrew, had any exciting adventures while shooting in South Africa. We were shocked to find out she went shark cage diving!

"We were in Cape Town, near the ocean. You go on a boat, and then you go in a cage, and there's a guy standing on top of the boat and your head's above water, but your whole body is under water. You can't touch the cage because they said the sharks will bite your fingers off. And then the guy standing on top throws food to the sharks and then, when he sees them coming, he yells, 'Shark!' and you have to go down really fast to watch the sharks getting the food, then you come back up for air."

We couldn't help but ask if Meryl joined in on the frightening task.

"No, Meryl didn't join, and Brenton didn't because he's Australian, and they have a weird thing about sharks. Alexander Skarsgard came, though. And my dad, who still talks about it. It’s like his favorite moment of his life ever."

Brave girl! The Giver opens in theaters on Aug. 15.

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