Josh Hutcherson was joined by several of his costars from The Hunger Games last night at a dinner to toast his new Nylon Guys cover in LA. We caught up with Josh inside the soiree to talk about being a part of one of this year's most hotly anticipated movie events and why he felt an immediate connection to his character, Peeta Mellark. He also shared a little about his favorite scene in the close-to-finished cut of the film he recently watched, and told us about the moment on set that brought Jennifer Lawrence to tears. Here are some highlights:
PopSugar: Have you guys gotten to see the final cut of The Hunger Games?
Josh: Not final cut, but a very close to final cut, yeah.
PS: What was the coolest moment or scene for you [to watch]?
Josh: For me, honestly, my favorite scene is when it's, like, the day before the games and Katniss and Peeta have that conversation. And that, for me, I thought was a really cool spot in the relationship because you kind of see the tenderness between them a little bit. So that meant a lot to me.
PS: I started reading the book and I actually pictured you as Gale before I knew who was playing who. I'm curious, did you read for any other part?
Josh: Really? I mean, for me I had an immediate connection with Peeta. I felt like I was Peeta in so many ways, it kind of blew my mind a little bit. To the point when I actually walked into the room to audition, and [author] Suzanne Collins and [director] Gary Ross were there, I said to them — I've never said this before in any audition and I'll never say it again because it sounds disgusting — but I am so much like Peeta! Reading it, I was almost like, 'How did Suzanne Collins write a movie about my [kind of] person?' It kind of blew my mind.
For more from our chat with Josh and a look inside last night's party, just read more!
PS: What was it about him that you thought was so similar to you?
Josh: One of the biggest things was just his belief that, no matter what situation you're in, you've got to be who you are as a person and be able to look in the mirror and be OK with that and not be a pawn in someone else's game. And that could happen very easily, and I never have wanted to, and I never will let it.
PS: Now, I was reading today and saw you said something about Jennifer kicking you in the head.
Josh: Yeah, she gave me a concussion [laughs].
PS: Did you guys get past that?
Josh: Oh, very much, yeah. She was so devastated. She was, like, crying and I thought it was pretty funny actually.
PS: Were there any other moments — I mean, it's a pretty physically demanding movie— when you were like, 'OK, I could really hurt myself here.'?
Josh: Not so much, honestly. Everything was pretty comfortable, wasn't too bad. It was pretty, pretty good.
PS: Now, what are you looking forward to the most about the movie? Do you have a little bit of nervousness about how big of a phenomenon it might be?
Josh: Oh, boy. Well, I wish. I think that, for me, I just love the story so much I'm excited for people to see it. And then those who have read the book, I'm excited [for them] to see what the film was like. And for those who don't know the story, I love the story….
PS: But it's got to be a little intimidating, I mean, look at Kristen and Rob and Twilight and how crazy that's been, are you doing anything to prepare yourself for that possibility?
Josh: Day by day. I'd have no idea what to do to prepare for that sort of thing. For me, I'm just kind of living it and seeing where that takes us. I'm excited.
Josh's cover party, held at PaliHouse in West Hollywood and hosted by PF Flyers and Nylon Guys, also welcomed Alexander Ludwig, who plays Cato in The Hunger Games, and Dayo Okeniyi, who will take on the role of Thresh in the big-screen adaptation of the movie. Some of their female costars were also in attendance, including Jacqueline Emerson, who portrays Foxface, and Leven Rambin, who plays Glimmer. The castmates are in LA gearing up for this weekend's press day for the film, which opens in theaters on March 23.