Interview: Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson

Jennifer Lawrence, at left, and Josh Hutcherson speak at "The Hunger Games," movie mall tour, Saturday, March 3, 2012, at The Westfield Mall in Century City,Calif. © AP Photo by Katy Winn.

Though Louisvillian Jennifer Lawrence is the Oscar nominee among The Hunger Games leading actors, Josh Hutcherson is the old hand at movies. According to the Internet Movie Database, the 19-year-old actor has been performing on camera since a 2002 TV movie called Becoming Glen, the same year he appeared on an episode of ER, though fellow Kentuckian George Clooney had already left the show by then.

In particular, while big, physically demanding spectacles were new to Lawrence, Hutcherson had been through that mill several times with films such as Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) and Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005).

“It definitely has some physical elements that I’m kind of used to ion a shoot,” Hutcherson said in a March 4 phone interview. “The story is something like I’ve never read before, let alone done. So in that respect, it was something brand new to me.

“I just got done shooting Journey to the Mysterious Island right before that was running around in a jungle trying to survive. This was just running around in a forest trying to survive.”

Asked if he prefers a jungle or forest, he chose forest, in part because he said being from Kentucky, it’s a more familiar environment.

As for his co-star and fellow Kentuckian, he said, “She did great. She literally didn’t have one day off, except the weekends, obviously, for the entire shoot. Everybody else had a few days off here and there, but she worked every single day.

“She was amazing. To come to the set every single day with the same energy and enthusiasm for her job that she did is so impressive. She’s so humble and down to earth and real, and it was an honor to talk to her.”

Hutcherson did get the worst of things in one instance. Wednesday night, on The Late Show with David Letterman, he recounted how Lawrence gave him a concussion when she kicked him in the temple while practicing fight choreography.

Click the play button above to hear our entire interview with Josh Hutcherson.

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