If you’re not yet familiar with Josh Hutcherson, you’re about to be.
The talented 18-year-old has been a working actor for half his life, quietly paying his dues with roles on television and in films, earning Hollywood street cred in films like “Kicking and Screaming,” “Bridge to Terabithia” and “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”
Then last year, Hutcherson suddenly evolved from dependable sweet-faced child actor to formidable future leading man with his buzzed-about performance in the award-season darling “The Kids Are All Right.” That career momentum kicked into future-superstar gear when Hutcherson landed the highly coveted role of Peeta Mellark in the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling “Hunger Games.”
All things considered, it’s a no-brainer that Hutcherson made our New Class list as the “Actor Most Likely to Play a Superhero.” MTV News caught up with him recently to talk about the honor, his very busy year and, of course, “The Hunger Games.”
MTV News: You’ve experienced the whole award and recognition thing before, but how does it feel to be named to our New Class?
Josh Hutcherson: It’s very nice, especially to be considered with the group I’m in here with, all peers of mine I admire very much. I’ve been an actor for a long time, so to finally get some recognition from some people that I think are really cool is pretty nice.
MTV: It seems like this past year has been a whirlwind. Take us through all the projects you’re juggling at the moment.
Hutcherson: It’s been crazy. I shot “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” the end of last year and the beginning of this year, then I went into a little short film I shot in Cuba with Benicio Del Toro [“7 Dias en La Habana”], which was really fun, and then this summer the whole time I spent shooting “The Hunger Games,” which was an amazing experience. Very exciting, and I can’t wait for that to come out.
MTV: Is there someone in the business whose career you’d like to emulate?
Hutcherson: I have a few people. I’ve always been a big Jake Gyllenhaal fan. I like how he goes from doing a bigger studio movie to a more independent film. I am a huge Christian Bale fan; I think he’s incredible and can play any role and kill it. And I’m also a die-hard Ryan Gosling fan, so those are my guys I’d like to be like.
MTV: Do you make a conscious effort to go from smaller, independent films as well as big studio films?
Hutcherson: Yeah. It’s all about balance; everything in life is about balance, in my opinion. You have to do the big studio movies to keep people caring about you in a way, and also for me, I’ve been really fortunate. I haven’t done any big studio movies that suck. They’ve all been good material and that’s the most important thing for my career, to choose the right material and to choose the characters that I care about and stories I want to tell, so that’s kind of how I’ve gone about my career since I was 9, more or less.
MTV: So let’s talk briefly about “The Hunger Games” and that crazy audition process.
Hutcherson: For the audition process, I came in the first time and read a few scenes for [director] Gary Ross and [author] Suzanne Collins and some of the other producers involved. Then maybe about a week or so, maybe two weeks later, I came in and did a screen test with [co-star] Jennifer [Lawrence], where I actually read the scenes with her so they could see how the chemistry worked. Both of them felt really great, but as an actor, you just pick apart every single thing that you do, so for me, I was on pins and needles waiting to find out. And then when I finally found out, my jaw hit the floor. I was so excited.
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