He was always a driven actor, even in the years before he could drive.
Josh Hutcherson leans against the balcony in his suite at the Kahala Hotel on Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, sips some guava juice and tells you this story.
"I got my hands on a phone book at age nine and looked up local acting agents," the 19-year-old Kentucky native says with a smile. "Then I called one up and said, 'Hi, my name is Josh and I'm going to be a movie star.'"
"Later, I told my parents and they said, 'I guess we better get on this acting thing. We better do it – or you will just do it without us.' From the age of four, I always loved the entertainment industry. I'm the kid who was always putting on a show."
He is a refreshing movie star with his windblown hair and sweet smile. His Journey 2 co-star Vanessa Hudgens says, "Josh is so carefree in real life. I know there are so many young actors in this business who really care about what other people think. They morph themselves into something they're not. Josh is very true to himself. He doesn't care if someone sees him being very silly. He's crazy…just like me. And frankly, it's nice to have someone who can be a movie star and a spaz at the same time."
"I'm sorry," Hutcherson says. "I love the work and I just can't take the rest of it that seriously."
Hutcherson is poised for major stardom in The Hunger Games. He plays Peeta, the baker with the heart of gold who's taken from his home in District 12 and sent to play "The Hunger Games" to fight to survive. Peeta must also deal with his crush on Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and has to decide what he will sacrifice in the name of love. A-List Links: "Hunger Games" Is Like Kim Kardashian's Divorce?
Josh, what do you make of this tormented love that Peeta has for Katniss? She doesn't even know he's alive in the beginning of the film.
Peeta is just the nice guy. He's a baker who has always been in love with Katniss, but like a lot of guys in real life, he's just too shy to tell her. Or, he thinks that she won't love him. He's thrown into "The Hunger Games" where there can only be one survivor. Will he allow his love Katniss to die, so he can survive? What I loved about Peeta is that he strongly believes in this idea of not being a part of some government's game. He's even okay with the fact that he probably won't make it out of the games. He loves Katniss enough that he wants to give her the best chance.
Do you understand that kind of sacrifice?
That's what you do when you love someone.
How did you prepare for filming for months in the woods of North Carolina? You spend the majority of the film running through them and hiding out.
It's funny because my co-star Liam Hemsworth went on a diet because he's stuck back in District 12, where food is scarce. As for me, I had to eat a lot to stay in good physical shape for the actual games. It was actually pretty tough. I was on a high protein diet of chicken and eggs. I had to work out to put on 15 pounds for the role. Is Miley Cyrus Still Sexting Liam Hemsworth?