Josh Hutcherson first caught audiences' attention as the crush-crazed Gabe in Little Manhattan. Recently, he starred as Jess in the film adaptation of Katherine Patersonís classic young adult novel Bridge To Terabithia, alongside another up-and-coming young actor, AnnaSophia Robb. Josh spoke to IML about Terabithia, guy/girl friendships, bullying, and his advice for aspiring young performers!
IML: Whatís the reaction been so far from people whoíve seen Bridge To Terabithia?
Josh: You know, Iíve had so many different reactions! Iíve had people tell me it was the saddest movie theyíve ever seen. Iíve had people tell me it was the most fun theyíve ever had at a movie before. I think the general consensus was that it was a great adaptation of a book, and weíve made it so much more than the book. Now itís a legacy that will live on because of the movie and the book and the DVD.
IML: What was your favorite part about the making the movie?
Josh: I loved New Zealand! It was just fantastic and so amazing down there. The beaches, the scenery, everything. And the crew I got to work with was awesome. They taught me how to play rugby because thatís their sport down there in New Zealand. I taught them American football and they taught me rugby.
IML: Jess is such an interesting character with whom a lot of young people identify. How are you and Jess similar or different?
Josh: You know, Iím very different! And thatís one of my favorite things about Jess, that I am so different. Because as an actor you want to play characters who are different from yourself and that way you can show your diversity. Itís more fun. When youíre an actor, you can totally pretend to be something that youíre not, which is what I got to do with Jess. When I first started acting, I was going to public school. And the kids would make fun of me for doing something different, and thatís kind of what Jess is going through, so I could bring that to my character. Other than that, I had to rely on my instincts and also our director and his producers to guide me in the right direction. It was a great challenge, and I loved it.
IML: Did you ever have to deal with bullying the way Jess does?
Josh: I had to deal with it a lot, and I also had to deal with being turned down when I started acting, not getting parts and everything like that. The way I deal with it is I tell myself, everything happens for a reason. You know, if someoneís being mean to me, karma is going to come back around and get them, theyíre going to learn a lesson for it. Thatís the way I look at it. Everyoneís learning a lesson for every single thing they do. For your actions, you get consequences. As far as getting turned down for movies and stuff, Iíd tell myself thereís gonna be more, thereís gonna be more, but that starts getting hard after a while, you start wondering, ďGee, IS there going to be more?Ē But I just had to keep my head in the right place.
IML: What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Josh: There was always something about it that I loved. I loved getting to play different characters. When I was younger, Iíd always do impressions, Iíd goof off all the time. Thatís all acting is, is doing impressions and goofing off. I love it. I have fun doing it. I started acting when I was about 9 and got an agent through the Yellow Pages, actually!
IML: Whatís your advice other young people who want to try it?
Josh: You have to keep your head in the right place. You really have to make sure that acting is what you want to do, that itís your passion. Because you have to put so much time and effort and heart behind it, and if youíre not sure if you love it or not, youíre going to be let down. So if you keep your head in the right place and you really want to do it, keep on fighting through and eventually it will all work out.
IML: We hear that you and AnnaSophia Robb became good friends while making Bridge To Terabithia. How are friendships with girls different from friendships with other guys?
Josh: We are really good friends. I think one of the cool things in Terabithia is that Jess and Leslie become friends with nothing else on their mind besides being friends. And thatís whatís really cool about us, because in a lot of situations, thereís more on their minds than just being friends. I think it is possible for girls and guys to be just friends. I mean, I have some other friends who are just girls, and some of them have tons and tons of guy friends. Itís unfortunate sometimes because theyíll try to jump into something that doesnít need to be more than it really is. Hey, I mean, every now and then itís okay to jump into something! If itís right. You just canít force it. But it would be hard if youíre really good friends with somebody and you try to become more, youíre crossing a line and you never know. Once that happens, itís happened, and you canít go back in time and undo it.
IML: What are your next projects?
Josh: I have a movie coming out called Winged Creatures, thatís a small independent film. Itís a really dark movie about a random diner shooting and people who are affected by post-traumatic stress afterwards. Itís got a great cast with some Academy Award winners and nominees. That was a change of pace for me, I got to play a very different character. My character is actually catatonic for half the movie. People think, ďOh, thatís easy!Ē but itís actually really hard, because I had to convey the emotions without talking. Then I have a movie coming out called Journey to the Center of the Earth, based on the Jules Verne book. Thereís a little twist on it, though. You have to find out when you see it!
IML: Do you have a role model?
Josh: I really look up to Jake Gyllenhaal as an actor. Because the roles he chooses arenít based on the biggest blockbuster movies. Theyíre based on being diverse roles, and thatís how I like to do it. He has a very similar career route as Iím hoping to take. And he seems like heís a very grounded nice person too!
IML: Are you involved in a sport? What do you like most about it?
Josh: That is my life! That is what I do, 24/7. Whenever Iím home in Kentucky, I do my sports. Iím on a soccer team and a basketball team, and I play football too. And I run! Iím always on the go. I get so much out of sports. I learn about teamwork. I made so many great friends from my sports teams, thatís a great way to meet new people. Also, you become stronger, healthier, your heart works better, and youíre going to live longer. Somebody asked me once what ďmy TerabithiaĒ was, and for me, itís whenever I step on the soccer field. Because when you do that, you just relieve all your stress and let everything go. Itís great.
IML: Thanks, Josh, and good luck!
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