Josh Hutcherson is on “The Mysterious Island”
Wish you could hear the waves crashing on the beach at the beautiful Kahala Resort on Oahu. Josh, dressed casually in a polo shirt and jeans, and I are on the balcony outside a suite on a perfect, sunny Hawaiian day.
What is our biggest impression (besides the fact that it’s beautiful here)? This is a young man who can handle whatever his career throws at him; whether it’s sitting on an anthill in the jungle.. Ouch! or fighting the case of nerves that potential mega-stardom could cause when The Hunger Games hits screens next month.
We’ve interviewed Josh several times before and watched the kid actor turn into a cute 19-year-old young adult.
Kidzworld: You’ve grown up in showbiz. Was it easy and natural for you to make the transition from kid to young adult actor?
- Josh: I’ve always wanted to choose my roles carefully because of that. When I first started acting I was in love with it. I knew I wanted to do it all my life so making that transition from a child star into an adult actor has always been on my mind. I think it’s just happened naturally over the years as I’ve gotten older.
My work has spoken for itself and I’ve been able to do movies like The Kids are All Right, that kind of aged me up a little bit. I think that was one of the bigger ones that pushed me into a different category.
Kidzworld: It’s been a while since you did Journey to the Center of the Earth. Was doing this one like going back?
- Josh: No. There was such a gap between the two films so it was like an entirely different movie.
Kidzworld: Vanessa Hudgens told us that she was creeped out by the big centipedes where you filmed this in the Hawaiian jungle. You?
- Josh: Well, the bugs were a little much at times especially when you’re sitting there and all of a sudden there’s an ant “Oh my gosh I’m on an anthill” with nine million ants crawling all over you.
Kidzworld: Ewww. Let’s talk your co-star. Did you meet Vanessa before you started filming?
- Josh: I’d met her a couple of random times at events but I’d never talked to her so, the first time we ever really hung out was at the chemistry read in L.A. We read over some scenes and it was great. We hit it off. We’re both really fun, outgoing people and don’t care what we look like when we’re having our fun.
Kidzworld: What surprised you about Vanessa? Be nice cuz she said nice things about you!
- Josh: [laughs] What surprised me about Vanessa is you see a lot of leading ladies in Hollywood who tend to take themselves very seriously and listen to their press and Vanessa doesn’t. She doesn’t take herself seriously…in a good way so that was nice to see and very refreshing.
Kidzworld: That tattoo on your wrist was in the movie. Did you do that for the movie or already have it?
- Josh: No. I got this done when I was 16 or so. It’s a Libra sign and I’m a Libra and so are some family members as well. Family is a big part of my life. [We used it] because Sean is sort of this adventurous guy who has gone around and travelled around a bit so we decided to keep it but for The Hunger Games, we covered it up every day.
Kidzworld: Let’s get to the good stuff. What is your pet peeve on a date?
- Josh: Checking your phone a lot is a big pet peeve of mind. “Am I not interesting? Am I boring or what?” I’m not very into technology. I’m not on the internet that much. I’m not all over twitter or Facebook so I’m very analog. I prefer a date to be more analog [old school technologically].
Kidzworld: When you start looking for “the one” to hook up with forever, what is a major quality you will demand?
- Josh: Funny! I think it’s really important for somebody to be funny. Humor is a big device in my life for everything. When I’m embarrassed, I try to be funny or when I’m sad I try to use humor so I think somebody who gets that and also kind of operates in that way.
Kidzworld: What was the toughest thing for you about doing this film?
- Josh: Working in the [big water] tank was tough. Dwayne and I were actually down there for an hour without coming up to the surface once. Everybody else had scuba gear on. We’d do the take with one breath then blindly fumble over to the little hooka thing and get some air. That was challenging. You’re like “I don’t have a breathing apparatus and I’m not meant to be underwater this long. This is kind of strange”.
Kidzworld: Are you ready for the huge fan excitement that The Hunger Games may launch for you?
- Josh: It’s tough to prepare for things that Vanessa and people in Twilight have gone through. Obviously if you have that kind of fan support, they like the movie and that’s why I make movies is for people to like them. Therefore, if people act that way, it means they like the movies which is good.
Kidzworld: “Mysterious Island” is a fantastic story that you have to make real. Can you talk about that?
- Josh: Yeah. There’s a lot of times on set working with a green screen or you have to pretend there’s a giant lizard chasing you when there’s nothing there but you have to go for it. If you want to sell it to the audience, you can’t really hold back. You have to react without feeling like you are a crazy person.
Kidzworld: The audience needs to care about the people in a film like this too.
- Josh: Yeah. The emotional journey is so important because since it is such a fantastical world, human emotions are something everybody can connect to. You have the emotions of Sean warming up to his stepfather and Kailani getting to trust Sean. You have those character elements that bring it down to reality.
Kidzworld: Were there any pranks on the set of this movie?
- Josh: Kind of our running prank, because there were a lot of bugs in the woods, we’d take long sticks and, from far away, poke them at somebody’s ear or nose and they’d swat. One time Vanessa and I got Luis [Guzman who plays Vanessa’s dad in the movie] so good. It was horrible. Finally he goes “I see you!”
Kidzworld: You little devil! Are you someone who wants to also write and direct some day?
- Josh: Yes! Since I first started in this business I’ve been a sponge, just soaking up everything from how the cameras work to shadowing directors so I’ve always been behind the camera as well.
Kidzworld: Have you ever felt trapped in your life like your character Sean does? He wants to get out and have an adventure.
Josh: I think everybody can feel that at some point about their life. Be it by our job or your relationship but I haven’t had too much of that. There’s a little bit of that. Like with The Hunger Games, I get a little nervous. I made the movie and now there is nothing I can do. You’re just along for the ride and I’m proud of it.
Kidzworld: What new band have you discovered lately?
- Josh: This new band called Timber Timbre. They’re amazing. They are a dark, jazz rock kind of. They’re just outside of Toronto and Brad Peyton, our director for “Journey” turned me on to them and I’ve listened to them non-stop.
Kidzworld: Do you ever get so involved in your roles that you get confused about who you really are?
- Josh: I think I definitely take a piece of all my characters and that sort of makes up who I am as a person. I have an underlayer that’s been solid throughout but I think all my experiences make who you are. Just happens that my experiences are pretending I’m other people so I take a little bit of each character and it becomes a part of me, consciously or subconsciously.
Kidzworld: What kinds of books do you read when you have a moment away from your busy schedule?
- Josh: I don’t have much time but when I do I like to read books about theoretical physics and philosophy.
Kidzworld: Deep, dude!
Josh: [laughs] I like the deeper “What does it mean to be a person?” “What is reality?” “What is a consciousness?” “How is it we can ask these kinds of questions?” That’s what I want to know.
Kidzworld: Very cool. Also good for an actor to get into your characters’ skins.
Josh: Exactly. If I went to college it would be for psychology, sociology. Things of that nature. Honestly, even as a little kid, at nine years old getting into acting, I think that’s what drove me in the first place; that curiosity about people. Every person you walk by is just as complicated as you are. It almost impossible to get your brain around the fact that there are so many different people in the world with so many different thoughts.
Kidzworld: Dude, this is a whole new side of you. I like it [he smiles]. Tell your fans and potential fans out there why they’ll enjoy Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Hunger Games and the next few films you are doing.
- Josh: I do the best to do the most realistic portrayal of characters and find something that people can connect with so, for the fans, with my next few movies coming out I think you’ll find something you can connect with.
By: Lynn Barker