Josh Hutcherson discusses playing Peeta Mellark and starring in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.
How was the Hunger Games shoot?
From the whole beginning with the casting process to now being finished with the movie, it’s been a whirlwind. The shoot was long and tough. It’s a fun action movie with an amazing story and great characters. Gary Ross, the director, has done an amazing job and the transition from the book to the movie was flawless. All of the characters are perfectly cast.
How gruelling was the audition process?
It wasn’t physically gruelling but mentally it was rough because I’ve never connected with a character more than I have with Peeta. I felt he was so much who I am as a person and what my core beliefs are. It drove me crazy because I thought, “I’m perfect for this!” They were the toughest few weeks of my life just because I wanted it so badly.
What’s your connection with Peeta?
It’s the belief of not letting something change you, which is very much a driving force in Peeta’s motivation throughout the stories. That’s completely who I am. This business hasn’t changed me and people don’t change me and the most important thing is that at night when you lay there by yourself, all you have is you and if you’re not true to yourself, what else matters?
Did you enjoy the shoot?
I really enjoyed all the action stuff. It was like running around playing in the woods like I did all my life growing up. It was gruelling but it was made easy by [director] Gary [Ross] and by the greatness of the story. Even though it was this big, epic studio franchise, it didn’t feel like that on set. It was a very intimate setting which I feel allowed for everybody to give great performances.
Being part of this potentially huge franchise, did you feel any pressure, like, “I’d better not screw this up”?
You know, because I was confident in the idea that I was so much Peeta in myself, I wasn’t worried about that as much as I was terrified of what my life might become. That’s the scariest part of it all for me.
The expectations are for it to become the new Twilight…
If that does end up being the case, I’ll be so grateful and terrified at the same time.
How was it working with Sir Michael Caine on Journey 2?
Michael was a trooper, man. He’s in his 70s and dude’s got more stamina than I do. He’s very funny and doesn’t act his age at all, in a good way. He was a joy to have around on set. And the dude’s on Twitter – I’m not even on Twitter!
Did you ask him for any advice?
Watching him work is in its own way a lesson. I remember one time we were sitting in the chairs waiting for them to set up a shot and he was talking about how the first time he went to Las Vegas was with Frank Sinatra in his private jet. I was like, “Wow… that’s a great story.”
How did you cope with the creepy-crawlies on Journey 2’s Hawaiian locations?
The bugs were a little rough but thankfully there weren’t any snakes or spiders. What was fun though was you could really mess with people. You’d get a really long leaf or a long twig and you’d stand far away and put it in someone’s ear and they’d freak out. I kept doing it to Luis Guzman; I even did it to Sir Michael Caine.
Have you seen the completed film yet?
I just saw it for the first time yesterday and it’s great, so much fun. The 3D really draws you into the story and takes you along for a great ride.