The Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson speaks to Sofeminine
Breaking box office records worldwide, The Hunger Games was one of the biggest films of the year.
Based on the best-selling book trilogy by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian future where teenagers are forced to battle to the death in a brutal competition.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, a young girl who is chosen from her district to take part in the annual deadly race alongside Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth as her childhood friend Gale Hawthorne.
If 20-year-old Josh seems familiar to you, that's because he's been acting for over ten years, starring in Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, Bridge to Terabithia and The Kids Are Alright.
As he’s set to start filming the second instalment of the hit trilogy, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and the first film is released on DVD, Sofeminine sat down with Josh to get the inside scoop on extremely popular franchise.
Why do you think the books are so popular?
I think that the characters are really relatable in a lot of ways and people can find a piece of themselves in Peeta, Katniss or Gale.
It's almost like: ‘What would you do if you were thrust into The Hunger Games?’
Plus there’s this cool futuristic world with an authoritarian government, which is intriguing to people, so to have a book that speaks to a younger audience that has such serious themes and real messages, I think is very gripping.
Tell us a little bit about your character Peeta?
Peeta is very similar to me. I have a very similar outlook on life, which is ‘maintain who you are as a person and no matter what the circumstance that you are in, never compromise that’.
I feel we are very similar in that respect. I also feel he has a self-deprecating humour and that is my device as well. So we definitely have a lot of similarities.
Sounds like you connected with Peeta straight away?
When I read the book I had that connection with Peeta immediately, yeah. And the character drove me a bit crazy because I knew how badly I wanted the part.
But even as filming went on more and more I realized when playing Peeta how much I really am like him.
It certainly became a little weird and scary because I almost stopped acting and just started being myself and calling myself Peeta.
It's funny, I sometimes feel that maybe I am more a collection of my character than my character is a collection of me.
Where were you when you found out that you’d been cast?
I was at my house in Los Angeles and we had been waiting every single day, calling my agent and my agent calling me.
So finally I got a call. I was standing in my kitchen and there’s my agent and my mom and my manager on the phone and they were like, ‘So you have got the offer of The Hunger Games.’
And my mind was blown. It was one of those things today that is hard to believe actually happened.
I have to pinch myself because I loved the story so much, but here we are.
You and Jennifer both hail from the same state, Kentucky. Did that make your chemistry easier to find?
Yeah, it‘s a not a huge state but there are a lot of us there!
But it was so weird that we are both from Kentucky, which is, funnily enough, kind of where District 12 is supposed to be. It’s loosely based in the hills of Kentucky.
There is a certain kind of understanding of the South and the same upbringing that we both had. We definitely bonded over that instantaneously.
In the screen test we talked about Kentucky and Kentucky Fried Chicken and rival basketball teams and all that stuff so there was very much a connection.
What are the defining characteristics of a Kentuckian?
I think there is a kind of hospitality thing that is understood like ‘Yes, ma’am’ and ‘No, sir’ and all that sort of thing, which I was very much brought up with.
Other than that, I don’t know. Most people I have met from Kentucky seem to have a pretty level head for the most part and seem to be well rounded.
I love being from there. It’s a great place to go back to and to be with my friends and family.
Have you engaged with any of The Hunger Games fan sites?
Sure. I think that is one of the awesome things — that people have the right to say what the hell they want to say.
For me I don’t go online all that much, not on Facebook or Twitter or anything like that, so the only time I use the internet is to look something up on Google.
Anybody I talk to on the streets or any fans that I meet in person I will talk to, though, for sure.
Has there been an upsurge of people recognizing you?
People have been really cool about it. Nobody’s been freaking out or acting crazy so it has been really nice.
The Hunger Games is out on Blu-ray, DVD and Download from 3rd September