Josh Hutcherson

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Josh Hutcherson
Josh Hutcherson smiling, wearing an open patterned brown and tan flannel, with a brown shirt underneath
Born Joshua Ryan Hutcherson
(1992-10-12) October 12, 1992 (age 22)
Union, Kentucky, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Years active 2002–present

Joshua Ryan "Josh" Hutcherson (born October 12, 1992) is an American actor. A native of Kentucky, Hutcherson began his acting career in the early 2000s, appearing in several commercials and minor film and television roles. After getting an acting coach, he landed his first acting role in 2002 in the pilot episode of House Blend. His first film role was in 2003's Miracle Dogs on Animal Planet, followed by a motion-capture performance in The Polar Express (2004) and a voice acting role in Howl's Moving Castle (2005).

Growing up as a child actor, Hutcherson gained experience at a young age, with notable film appearances in Zathura (2005), RV (2006), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), and The Kids Are All Right (2010). In 2011, he landed the leading role of Peeta Mellark in the box office record setting The Hunger Games film series, which released films annually from 2012 to 2014. He won ten minor awards for the released films, having had twelve nominations. During this time, he also played a lead role in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and a voiceover role in the animated film Epic (2013).

Throughout his career, Hutcherson has expressed an interest in directing and producing. He has served as an executive producer in Detention (2011) and The Forger (2012) while also playing a lead role in both. Aside from the entertainment industry, he is heavily involved in the gay–straight alliance chapter called "Straight But Not Narrow."

Early life

Born in Union, Kentucky, on October 12, 1992, Hutcherson is the elder son of Michelle (née Fightmaster), a former Delta Air Lines employee who now assists with Josh's career, and Chris Hutcherson, an analyst for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[1][2] Also born and raised in the state of Kentucky, his parents met in high school in Dry Ridge.[1][3] He has one younger brother, Connor.[4][5][6]

Although his parents were hesitant, his interest in acting developed and blossomed at a young age.[7][8] According to Hutcherson, he had "loved the entertainment industry" from as early as the age of 4.[9] His father stated that his son was compelled to perform for people from a very young age, possessing a personality which attracted people's attention. His mother said that her son "bugged us so much" into becoming an actor,[10] but believed it was a phase he was going through and would grow out of it.[11] By the age of 8, Hutcherson went through the yellow pages and contacted an acting agency himself.[12] In January 2002, he and his mother met acting coach Bob Luke who came to Kentucky from New York to meet with them.[12] Luke advised them to go to Los Angeles and begin auditioning Hutcherson for TV pilots. At the time, his only acting experience had been in a Kroger television commercial and a vacation Bible school training film.[2] For three years, Hutcherson and his mother lived in the Oakwood apartments in Los Angeles, a housing community that hosts young child actors and their families.[12][13]

The majority of Hutcherson's childhood was spent on film sets rather than in the classroom. He attended New Haven Elementary School in Union until he began his career at the age of 9, after which he began homeschooling, with his mother as his teacher.[10][14] Later on, he returned to Kentucky to go to school for only one semester at Ryle High School.[14][15] Regarding his schooling experience, he said "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."[14]

Acting career

2002–2010: Early roles

Upon arriving in Hollywood in 2002, Hutcherson began appearing in various television commercials.[1] He landed his first acting role in the 2002 pilot episode of House Blend, playing Nicky Harper; that same year, he appeared in an episode of ER and acted in the pilot episode of Becoming Glen.[16] In 2003, he played leading role Charlie Logan in the television film Miracle Dogs, which was released on Animal Planet.[17] The film, Hutcherson's first, received a 79% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[18] Later that year, he starred opposite Peter Falk and Tim Daly in the made-for-television film, Wilder Days,[19] playing Falk's grandson who accompanies him on a turbulent road trip. Co-star Daly was impressed with the young Hutcherson, remarking, "He's an exceptional kid. He's a really good actor, and he's very smart and confident in himself."[20] He next took on the minor role of a boy dressed as Robin, his first feature film appearance, in the well-reviewed independent film, American Splendor.[21] The film won the grand jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival.[22] In 2004's fantasy film The Polar Express, his character, young Hero Boy, was created by motion-capture of his facial expressions and body movements.[23] The film, starring Tom Hanks in the lead role, received mixed reviews from critics.[24] In the animated fantasy film Howl's Moving Castle, he voiced the character of Markl, working alongside Christian Bale and Billy Crystal, who voiced two other lead characters.[25] All of his dialogue for the film was recorded in about 8 consecutive hours.[26]

Josh Hutcherson smiling for a picture wearing casual clothing
Hutcherson at the premiere of Cirque du Freak in 2009

In 2005, Hutcherson appeared in several Hollywood films while trying to get his footing in the industry. He had a minor role in the comedy Kicking & Screaming, playing Bucky Weston.[27] In Little Manhattan he had a lead role alongside his younger brother, Connor.[6][28] Stella Papamichael of the BBC approved of his performance, stating that "Hutcherson's delivery is spot-on, showing a keen instinct for self-effacing humor that would make even Woody Allen feel that bit more inadequate",[29] but Variety columnist Brian Lowry felt that Hutcherson "might have looked cute on the page, but even with his Linus voice the language and tone [didn't] feel natural."[30] Hutcherson appeared in a lead role opposite Jonah Bobo in Jon Favreau's Zathura.[31] He found the filming of Zathura to have been a particularly enjoyable one due to the number of special effects and stunts he was involved with,[32] and he received the Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Leading Young Actor" for his performance.[33]

Hutcherson next appeared in the comedy RV in early 2006, playing the son of Robin Williams's character Bob Munro.[34][35] He has professed that he found it difficult to concentrate during the production because he was "constantly laughing" at co-star Williams.[36] The film was not received favorably by critics and audiences. Variety said the film suffered from "blunt predictability and meagre laughs".[37] He received his second Young Artist Award nomination for his role, but did not win.[38]

A breakthrough in his career as a child actor came in 2007 when he portrayed Jesse Aarons opposite AnnaSophia Robb and Robert Patrick in the fantasy drama Bridge to Terabithia.[16] The film was shot on location in New Zealand for three and a half months. Hutcherson said of the filming: "That was an amazing experience. It doesn't get any prettier than that. There were beaches everywhere and all sorts of forests. We took little road trips everywhere and just had a lot of fun."[39] He admitted to not having read the novel that the film is based upon before being cast in his role.[40] Author Ann C. Paietta describes his character of Jesse Aarons as "an introverted boy with four sisters, a financially strapped family, and a real talent for drawing", whose life is turned around when Leslie Burke (Robb) arrives, creating an imaginary utopian world together.[41] Anne Hornaday of The Washington Post found his casting to be "a perfect fit" and commended how he portrayed the "sensitive, artistic, temperament" of his character,[42] while Miriam Di Nunzio of the Chicago Sun-Times noted the chemistry between Hutcherson and Robb, referring to them as a "dynamic duo".[43] He received his second Young Artist Award for "Best Performance in a Feature Film by a Leading Young Actor" for the film.[44] Hutcherson's next role was in Firehouse Dog (2007), in which he played Shane Fahey, a firefighter's son who befriends a dog. He has expressed his pleasure in working and bonding with the four different dogs who played his canine co-star.[45] The film received mixed reviews, although critics were favorable to Hutcherson.[46] Following the film, Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer referred to him as the "Jodie Foster of Generation Y", remarking that with "each successive film Hutcherson dives deeper into his reservoir of shame and hurt and hope, unnerving for one so young, but also unusually urgent for an actor of any age."[47]

Hutcherson with slicked back hair and a black button up dress shirt on.
Hutcherson at the 2010 New York Film Festival

In 2008, he appeared in the independent crime drama Winged Creatures (released as Fragments on DVD) alongside Dakota Fanning as they portrayed two teenage friends who survive a massacre,[48] and in Journey to the Center of the Earth, a new 3D version of the novel of the same name which has Hutcherson portraying a teen who travels to Iceland with an uncle he hardly knows, played by Brendan Fraser.[45][49] From 2009 to 2010, he appeared as a boy named Steve "Leopard" Leonard who visits a freak show with his friends in the vampire fiction film adaptation of the book Cirque Du Freak[50] and had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed The Kids Are All Right, portraying the son of a lesbian couple, played by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore.[51][52] According to Kaleem Aftab of The Independent, his role in the film was a pivotal point in his career and one of vital importance to continuing his career into adulthood.[8] Hutcherson himself expressed gratitude at being cast in the film, displaying satisfaction with the intimacy and creative freedom that independent film provides over studio films.[53] The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy in 2010, and was a nominee for Best Picture at the 83rd Academy Awards.[54][55] Gregory Ellwood of entertainment site HitFix stated: "Hutcherson's charismatic wit and natural instincts shine and it's arguably the first film where he proves he's more than just another sharp looking teen actor."[52]

2011–present: The Hunger Games and breakthrough

That role is so key to have a boy that can use language. That's how Peeta navigates the world, that's his gift, and Josh was the only one who could bring that to life in such a real and natural way.

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games series author[56]

On April 4, 2011, Lionsgate announced that Hutcherson had been cast as Peeta Mellark in the The Hunger Games series, opposite Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.[57][58] He was eager to land the role during the casting process, feeling that he related to the character extremely well.[1] In preparation for the role, he had to bleach his hair and gain 15 pounds, which he found difficult due to his dedication to sports.[59] Lawrence, a close friend, has always spoken highly of him as an actor; speaking of his acting in relation to his role as Peeta Mellark, "He's charming, he's sweet, he's down to earth, he's normal. He embodies all of it and brings it all to Peeta ... he's got all those great qualities and every single one of them comes across in every line he says out loud as Peeta."[60] He became known for pulling pranks on set.[61] The pranking led to an accident as he was play-fighting with Lawrence; she kicked him in the head, unintentionally knocking him unconscious and giving him a concussion.[62] The initial film, The Hunger Games, was released on March 23, 2012 and went on to become one of the highest grossing films of the year. Hutcherson received the MTV Movie Award for "Best Male Performance".[63] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone stated "[Hutcherson] brings humor and a bruised heart to a boy who needs to mature fast."[64] He was awarded the 2012 NewNowNext award for "Next Mega Star" and the National Association of Theatre Owners's 2012 CinemaCon award for "Breakthrough Performer of the Year".[65][66]

Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International, for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire", at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.
Hutcherson with co-star and close friend Jennifer Lawrence at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International

Between landing the role in The Hunger Games and the film's release, he played a lead role and served as an executive producer for two films: Detention (2011) and The Forger (2012).[67][68] Detention has him playing the role of popular teenager Clapton Davis, in a film that's plot was compared to 1985's The Breakfast Club.[69] The Forger features him in a leading role as a 15-year-old orphan who finds himself getting into trouble until Alfred Molina's character comes to his aid. The film itself wasn't well received but the actors' chemistry together and their performance was.[70] He next reprised his role as Sean Anderson in the 2012 Journey to the Center of the Earth sequel, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.[71][72] He has always been vocal about his desire to work on films of all sorts of genres.[45] Regarding the switch from comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right to the Journey sequel, he stated: "For me, I like to do all different types of films and to go from having that awesome [indie] kind of thing that I love doing so much with great characters and a really great script to a bigger kind of studio film, to just cover the whole kind of spectrum of movies is really, really cool."[73] Although the film was largely panned,[74] it fared well commercially and his performance was well received, with Kofi Outlaw of Screenrant.com appreciating how "he does a good job holding the screen and portraying a somewhat layered protagonist".[75] Later in 2012, he appeared opposite Chris Hemsworth and Josh Peck in Red Dawn, a remake of the 1984 film of the same name. The film was panned by critics, achieving only a 12% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest score of any film Hutcherson has acted in.[76][77]

In 2013, Hutcherson voiced the character Nod in the animated action-adventure 3D film Epic, loosely based on William Joyce's book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.[78][79] The film is his most commercially successful film outside of The Hunger Games series.[77] He reprised his role as Peeta in The Hunger Games sequel, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In preparation for the film, he enlisted celebrity trainer Bobby Strom to assist him in five hour-long workouts per week.[80] The film brought in $420 million at the North American box office, making it his most commercially successful film.[77] Todd Gilchrist of Indiewire proclaimed after seeing the film that "Hutcherson's maturing talents achieve a parallelism with the character's self-actualization, proving subtler and more self-aware with every resigned decision he makes on behalf of the people around him that he loves."[81] Hutcherson received his second MTV Movie Award for "Best Male Performance" for his role in the sequel.[82]

He again reprised his role in the two feature-length parts of the Mockingjay film adaptation. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was released on November 21, 2014, and Part 2 will follow on November 20, 2015.[83] His character goes through a significant personality change in the films, which provided him an acting challenge; he commented saying, "I'm nervous about portraying it because I've never gone crazy before in a movie."[84] Emily Yahr of The Washington Post remarked that "Peeta's crazed expression is sure to haunt our nightmares for a long time,"[85] while David Edelstein of New York criticized him by saying "at least Josh Hutcherson's captured Peeta is mostly seen in interviews with Stanley Tucci’s camp talk-show host on TV screens … so the actor can’t bring his lack of urgency to scenes with [Jennifer Lawrence]."[86]

On November 23, 2014, the day following The Hunger Games: Catching Fire's United States release, Hutcherson hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live.[87][88] His performance received mediocre reviews, with Mike Ryan of The Huffington Post stating that he did not really bring "anything special to the table except having a nice attitude", and John Surico of GQ remarking that "while the night didn't necessarily disappoint, it also didn't dazzle".[89][90]

Prior to filming of the Mockingjay movies, Hutcherson filmed Escobar: Paradise Lost, a French-Spanish romantic thriller film, which will be released on January 16, 2015, in the U.S.[91] He also served as an executive producer for the film, alongside first-time director Andrea Di Stefano, assisting with casting and blocking shots; Hutcherson said the opportunity "made [him] so hungry to do more like that".[92]

Personal life

Josh Hutcherson in a striped blue tank top and Vanessa Hudgens in a blue dress.
Hutcherson and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island co-star and friend Vanessa Hudgens in January 2012

Hutcherson has cited actor Jake Gyllenhaal as an inspiration,[40] admiring the way Gyllenhaal "has taken his career and the kind of jobs that he's taken".[7] He has also named actor, director, and producer Philip Seymour Hoffman as one of his inspirations.[93]

Hutcherson currently resides in Los Angeles, California.[94] In May 2012, he purchased the 1,861 square feet (172.9 m2) $2.5 million former house of Heath Ledger in Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, a small ranch which was built in a tree in 1951.[95] He is a close friend of actress Vanessa Hudgens.[96] Hutcherson has been a keen sports enthusiast since his youth, playing on his high school's soccer team,[7][15] also displaying a passion for football and tennis.[26] At the age of 13, he participated in a triathlon.[26] He is also a keen songwriter and guitarist.[97] He professes that his fame has not changed him as a person, stating, "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.”[8][14]

As a known ally to the LGBT community, Hutcherson advocates the gay–straight alliance campaign "Straight But Not Narrow".[98][99] Since its formation, he has remained its most active supporter.[100] Annually from 2012 through 2014, he has hosted the "Josh Hutcherson Celebrity Basketball Game" in Los Angeles, California, which raise funds and awareness for the campaign.[101] His involvement with the LGBT community stems from his family ties; two of his uncles who were gay died of AIDS.[102] In April 2012, he became the youngest recipient of the Vanguard Award from GLAAD, given for promoting equal rights for LGBT people.[103] In regards to his own sexuality, he considers himself to be "mostly straight" and does not believe in being limited by labels.[92] In November 2013, Hutcherson and Queen Latifah presented trophies together to four young community volunteers in a live ceremony at the fifth annual TeenNick HALO Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.[104]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2003 American Splendor Robin
2004 Motocross Kids TJ
2004 Polar Express, TheThe Polar Express Young Hero Boy Motion capture only
2005 One Last Ride Joey
2005 Kicking & Screaming Bucky Weston
2005 Howl's Moving Castle (in English) Markl Voice role
2005 Little Manhattan Gabriel "Gabe" Burton
2005 Zathura: A Space Adventure Walter
2006 RV Carl Munro
2007 Bridge to Terabithia Jesse Aarons
2007 Firehouse Dog Shane Fahey
2008 Winged Creatures Jimmy Jaspersen
2008 Journey to the Center of the Earth Sean Anderson
2009 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant Steve "Leopard" Leonard
2010 Kids Are All Right, TheThe Kids Are All Right Laser Allgood
2011 Detention Clapton Davis Also executive producer
2012 Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Sean Anderson
2012 Hunger Games, TheThe Hunger Games Peeta Mellark
2012 7 Days in Havana Teddy Atkins
2012 Forger, TheThe Forger Joshua Mason Also executive producer
2012 Red Dawn Robert Kitner
2013 Epic Nod Voice role
2013 Hunger Games: Catching Fire, TheThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire Peeta Mellark
2014 Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, TheThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 Peeta Mellark
2015 Escobar: Paradise Lost Nick Brady Also executive producer
2015 Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, TheThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Peeta Mellark Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Becoming Glen Young Glen Pilot episode
2002 House Blend Nicky Harper Pilot episode
2002 ER Matt Episode: "First Snowfall"
2003 Division, TheThe Division Matthew Inwood Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part"
2003 Miracle Dogs Charlie Logan Television film
2003 Wilder Days Chris Morse Television film
2003 Line of Fire Donny Rawlings Episode: "Take the Money and Run"
2004 Eddie's Father Eddie Corbett Pilot episode
2004 Party Wagon Toad E. Bartley Voice role; Television film
2004 Justice League Unlimited Van-El / Young Bruce Wayne Voice role; Episode: "For the Man Who Has Everything"
2010 Third Rule, TheThe Third Rule Chuck Short film
2012 Punk'd Himself Episode: "Lucy Hale"
2013 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Josh Hutcherson/Haim"

Awards and nominations

Throughout the first stage of Hutcherson's acting career, he received eight Young Artist Awards nominations, four of which he won. He and the cast of 2010's The Kids Are All Right received eight nominations for "Best Cast" or "Best Ensemble" by eight different organizations including SAG-AFTRA and Broadcast Film Critics Association. For The Hunger Games, Hutcherson and his co-stars were nominated for ten awards and won eight of them; among those awards were National Association of Theatre Owners' 2012 "Breakthrough Performer of the Year" and Logo TV's 2012 "Next Mega Star".

Year Organization Award Work Result
2004 Young Artist Awards[105] Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special - Leading Young Actor Wilder Days Nominated
2005 Young Artist Awards[106] Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast Motocross Kids Nominated
2005 Young Artist Awards[106] Outstanding Young Ensemble in a New Medium The Polar Express Won
2006 Young Artist Awards[33] Best Performance in a Feature Film (Comedy or Drama) - Leading Young Actor Zathura: A Space Adventure Won
2007 Young Artist Awards[38] Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor RV Nominated
2008 Young Artist Awards[44] Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Bridge to Terabithia Won
2008 Young Artist Awards[44] Best Performance in a Feature Film - Young Ensemble Cast Bridge to Terabithia Won
2009 Young Artist Awards[107] Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actor Journey to the Center of the Earth Nominated
2010 Breakthrough of the Year Awards[108] Breakthrough Actor in Film The Kids Are All Right Won
2010 Gotham Awards[109] Best Cast Ensemble The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2010 Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[110] Best Ensemble The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2010 Boston Society of Film Critics[111] Best Cast The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2010 Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards[112] Youth in Film The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2010 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards[113] Best Cast The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2011 Alliance of Women Film Journalists[114] Best Ensemble Cast The Kids Are All Right Won
2011 Central Ohio Film Critics Association Awards[115] Best Cast Ensemble The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2011 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards[116] Best Acting Ensemble The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards[117] Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Kids Are All Right Nominated
2012 NewNowNext Awards[65] Next Mega Star The Hunger Games Won
2012 CinemaCon Award[66] Breakthrough Performer of the Year Award The Hunger Games Won
2012 MTV Movie Awards[63] Best Cast The Hunger Games Nominated
2012 MTV Movie Awards[63] Best Kiss The Hunger Games Nominated
2012 MTV Movie Awards[63] Best Fight The Hunger Games Won
2012 MTV Movie Awards[63] Best Male Performance The Hunger Games Won
2012 Teen Choice Awards[118] Choice Movie: Liplock The Hunger Games Won
2012 Teen Choice Awards[118] Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy The Hunger Games Won
2012 Do Something Awards[119] Movie Star: Male The Hunger Games Won
2013 People's Choice Awards[120] Favorite On-Screen Chemistry The Hunger Games Won
2014 MTV Movie Awards[82] Best Performance The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Won
2014 Teen Choice Awards[121] Choice Movie Actor: Sci-Fi/Fantasy The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Won

References

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Bibliography

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