‘Hunger Games’: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

March 20, 2012 | 11:08 a.m.
malltour Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Liam Hemsworth, left, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson attend "The Hunger Games" kick off their U.S. mall tour on March 3 in Los Angeles. (Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Lionsgate)

09 300dpi Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Cinna (Lenny Kravitz, left), Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in a scene from "The Hunger Games." (Murray Close/Lionsgate)

peeta2 Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in "The Hunger Games." (Murray Close/Lionsgate)

onfire Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Katiness Everdeen, left, played by Jennifer Lawrence, Peeta Mellark, played by Josh Hutcherson, and Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz, in a scene from "The Hunger Games." (Murray Close/Lionsgate)

peeta Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Josh Hutcherson stars as Peeta Mellark in "The Hunger Games." (Murray Close/Lionsgate)

premiere3 Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

A fan snaps her photo with Josh Hutcherson, right, at the premiere of "The Hunger Games" on March 13 in Los Angeles. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

premiere2 Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Josh Hutcherson, left, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth attend the European premiere of "The Hunger Games" in East London on March 14. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

premiere Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Josh Hutcherson attends the Canadian premiere of "The Hunger Games" on March 19 in Toronto. (George Pimentel/Getty Images)

peetaposter Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

A movie poster for "The Hunger Games" shows Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark. (Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson thinks he’s in Dallas, though all he’s seen is an airport, a hotel and a mall. It’s 16 days before the opening of “The Hunger Games,” and though the 19-year-old actor has been performing since he was 9 — in films as diverse as “American Splendor,” “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “The Kids are All Right” — the reaction to co-starring in the adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel is unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

It’s also the first cross-country mall tour the young actor has jumped aboard, hence the reason for his location confusion. In the last week, the actor has been in giant shopping centers in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Dallas, signing posters and books for throngs of screaming fans who have shown up to get a glimpse of the young man playing Peeta Mellark, the loyal tribute from District 12 who fights alongside heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in the highly anticipated film, which opens in theaters Friday.

joshhutcherson Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

Josh Hutcherson (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)

“Last night’s mall event was crazy,” said Hutcherson in a phone interview. “There were 3,000 people there. They had been there for hours and they were screaming at a level where your ears could no longer process the sound. I couldn’t quite get my brain around what was happening. It was so surreal.”

Hutcherson understood that playing the character would change things for him professionally, but the intensity of the fan spotlight has still taken the actor by surprise. He says he has no regrets, though, about his decision and is ready to accept the complications that come with moving up the fame ladder.

“It’s totally worth it,” said Hutcherson of being at the center of a worldwide media storm. “ I love my job more than anything in the world and I could never imagine doing anything else. So this whole thing is a very small price to pay compared to someone who has to go to an office to work. I could never imagine that.”

Hutcherson read the books quickly and was hooked on Collins’ world immediately. He said he easily connected to his character Peeta and saw his relationship with Katniss as symbiotic and true.

“Peeta has an infatuation with Katniss. I think that’s what he has felt for her his entire life because he knows what she does for her family, how hard she has to work to make a living for them,” said Hutcherson. “Because of that, it gives him more security in his idea that he is going to do everything in his power to help her survive.”

The majority of Hutcherson’s education has taken place on film sets. Originally from Union, Ky., Hutcherson only spent one semester in high school — he wanted to play soccer for his local school — and hated every minute of it, including but not limited to the ritual of waking to an alarm each weekday.

“I know it’s something kids have to deal with every single day but getting up at the same time every day and having to listen to teachers talk about things I could learn so much more easily on my own, I hated it,” said Hutcherson.

jenniferlawrence Hunger Games: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

'Hunger' premiere: Tributes in Tinsletown

In contrast, Hutcherson relished his time on the North Carolina set of “Hunger Games,” specifically the scenes he filmed with Lawrence. He was impressed by both her leadership skills and her acting ability.

“Every single day, no matter how long her night was the night before or how long she’d been working that week, she came to work and was ready to go,” said Hutcherson. “She was never sluggish. She always had a great attitude.”

Lawrence also hails from Kentucky and began acting at a young age, and Hutcherson says he shares with her a similar outlook on life, one grounded by family and Southern roots: “For both of us, our family is a huge part of our lives. That’s big. That comes from being in Kentucky and having parents that raised us both in the same way. My golden rule growing up was treating people the way you want to be treated and I think Jennifer lives by that code as well.”

Hutcherson is signed on to play Peeta throughout the remaining three films in the series, though he has yet to fill his hiatus between “Hunger Games” promotional duties and the start of production for the sequel “Catching Fire,” which is likely to begin by the end of the year.

“I’m dying to work, I really want to work but I don’t have to work,” he said. “So I can be picky about what I choose. I just want to find the right thing.”

–Nicole Sperling

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Comments


43 Responses to ‘Hunger Games’: Josh Hutcherson on Peeta, fame, Jennifer Lawrence

  1. victoria says:

    i love the hunger games! me and all of my freinds are addicted to it! cant wait untill friday! ilove josh!

    • joahanna says:

      Josh is exactly like me. I was born in Kentucky. I've been in acting since i was 10 years old. My golden rule is to treat people the way you would like them to treat you!!!! I honestly fell in love with the character of peeta because he is sweet and loyal. The Hunger games is the best book i have ever read in my whole life!!!! One day i hope i meet Josh and find out how the experience was!!! I've seen Josh before!!! He's really nice and i think he's cute. You never know when you might see me in CATCHING FIRE!!!!! I'm also 19 years old!!!

  2. kylie says:

    i love the hunger games it is the best book i have ever read i cant wait till the movie im so excited and i love josh, peeta is my favorite character, me and my friend sara compete on who reads the book faster (right now im ahead) and she is team gale and we'll argue about whos hotter, its hilarius, me and her have these saying my is "Peeta has loved Katniss since he first saw her it might be fake to every one but to them its real" and i forgot her's but any ways im so excited and i love peeta

    • Ally says:

      Hey kylie my best friend is kylie and i read it in 3 days 2 but so far a read the whole sereis 10 times i love all ofthem except for the 3rd so good luck now I am 11 so it is really good. after i read the first one i was in love with peeta. scince i am home schooled. I talked with my mom about it every minuit . At first i wasnt able to see the movie ad my mom saw it and she surprised me by taking me. I would havet to say I aam probably the biggest fan. The bad thing is I wish Josh was blond still so yeah.

      Love ally

  3. Abby Reineke says:

    I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES!!!!!!!!!!! I READ THE FIRST ONE IN 3 DAYS (I'M ONLY 10)!!! THE SECOND AND THIRD WERE REALLY GOOD TOO!!!!! I THINK PEETA ROCKS AND LOVE THE END OF MOCKINGJAY, I'M SOOOOOOOOO HAPPY KATNISS ENDS UP WITH PEETA. SORRY GALE BUT I DIDN'T LIKE YOU FROM THE START!!!!! IT WOULD BE FANTASTICLY AWESOME TO GET TO REALLY MEET YOU!!!! SINCERLY, ABBY REINEKE (YOUR # 1 FAN)

    • Grayson says:

      Everything that you just said i like or did.

    • deloris casperson says:

      I AGERY!!…….BUT I LIKE GALE MORE. AND PEETA DOES NOT DESERVE KATNISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      FROM DELORS :)

      • Taylor says:

        i think katniss does not deserve peeta. in the books haymitch even said to katniss ," you could live a hundred life times and still not deserve him. peeta's to sweet and good to katniss for her to deserve him!

      • Ally says:

        I so think peeta is way better he has more emotion. In the first book my fav line was

        Remember we are madly in love so u can kiss me any time you feel like it. Tho in the movies they didnt do any funny things with peeta. So yeaah I am peetas # 1 fan i will always stick up for him!

    • Nora says:

      Thank you, VERY MUCH, for ruining the end of the trilogy for me. I've only read the first book. Perhaps next time you would consider putting 'SPOILER ALERT' prior to revealing such information?
      Thanks.

  4. Giada says:

    Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson would make a great couple. They talk about each other like they are in love. They would be PERFECT!!!!!!!!

  5. Kellybeep says:

    Everyone loves the Hunger Games, I already can't wait for all the other movies (Catching Fire and MockingJay) I wish I would act in the movies! :)

    • Steph says:

      Same, I love acting and the Hunger Games!

    • Mark Swanwhite says:

      The hunger games great and all, but you should really see the avengers. It's a million times better than any of the hunger games. Plus, Liam Hemsworth(Gale)'s brother Chris Hemsworth is Thor for all you team Gale fans.

  6. ellie may says:

    peeta is sooooooowwwwww hotttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Grammar says:

      "Sow" Is not a word and I don't care if you care, but I care about correct grammar.

      • conan the grammarian says:

        Actually, 'sow' is a word. It was used improperly here as the poster was likely trying to convey an extreme 'so'. If you care about correct grammar, learn to use it correctly. It will do loads for your credibility with a user name like 'grammar'.

  7. Annette says:

    Did the casting director read the book? Such a disappointing casting of Peeta….he's supposed to be a BIG BOY who lifts 100-pound sacks of flour. This guy looks like a little runt. Just disappointing.

    • SPM says:

      First of all, he gained quite a bit of muscle for the role, which helped him look in the movie like what the author describes Peeta to be – medium height and stocky.

      Second, people who are built like Josh are usually much stronger than their taller counterparts. Shorter limbs = less distance to move the weight = ability to move heavier weights than long-limbed people can move. Do some research on powerlifting.

      Third, he was absolutely amazing in the role. He brought Peeta even more to life than the book itself.

    • Kitty says:

      Wow ur wrong in so many ways peetas not a runt ur a runt jerk

  8. Suua P. says:

    I can't wait to see him and Jennifer on the big screen!

  9. Jenna. says:

    Josh is a great choice for Peeta. He seems nice and respectful just like Peeta and i think he's the best choice they could have made. If the movie is anywhere near as good as the books they will be amazng.

  10. megs says:

    peeta is awesome i think he is sooooooooow hot yeah i used wrong gramer so wat i will if i wanna:)
    ——————–

  11. Tracii says:

    Josh is soo cute, he is a great actor, and hes the reason I'm saving to become an actor so I can meet him. I love him!!! Oh and he's BEST for Peeta!

  12. Ugh says:

    Josh is cute and all but next to katniss, he looks like the boy from little manhattan again. He just looks too nice to me.

  13. jewelee says:

    omgg..i love peeta && gale they are both really hott..<3

  14. Isabell says:

    I LOVE The Hunger Games movie and book

  15. Isis says:

    I would love to met the cast they were awesome in the movie

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  17. angel R\A\S\H\M\F\S says:

    joshpeeta is fine and I love him so much and I just love him so much I say that my name is angel reibolld[real last name] Allen [ my boyfriends last name] styles [ Harry's last name fyi from 1d ] Hutcherson [ josh from hunger games duh] melark [ his last name from the movie or book] follese [the drummer from hot chelle Rae ] and schnider [ the singer Charlie from rags] xoxox angel RASHMFS ttylxox

  18. Kaylee says:

    Peeta is so hot:):)!!!!!!!

  19. Kaylee says:

    Hunger games 4 life there my fav movies ever and I luv the books It sucks there's only three books and movies

  20. Olivia says:

    I can't wait until Catching Fire comes out!! Plus Josh Hutcherson is a hottie<3 Love Him

  21. HG lover says:

    I LOVE Hunger Games. I like Jen but no offence to her I love her but in that picture up above(not the Katniss one the one above that with her in the gold dress) she looks like a Siameese kitty. Am I right? I think it's kind of funny. She doing a kitty pose kind of. Oh well. I like Jen I'm not being mean. Just putting it out there.

  22. anna says:

    I LOVE THE HUNGER GAMES! Peeta is defenitally my favorite charcter sorry but i just haven’t liked gale for the start. Josh Hutcherson is so sweet! I wish i could meet him! He is the absolute best and i couldn’t think of anyone better to play the role of peeta. Everyone who posted something about Katniss not deserving Peeta is absolutly right! Peeta is so sweet and kind to her and she’s a total jerk half of the time and he is a total sweetheart he’s just so amazing!!!!!!!!

  23. Tamara Cummins says:

    I like all of the charcters …I LOVE HUNGER GAMES!!!
    <3

  24. Alexis says:

    i love peeta he is fine

  25. elizabeth says:

    you are hot peeta

  26. elizabeth miller says:

    i love peeta is cute in the movie and for real

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