“Hunger Games” fans would have adored this. Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth were paired for their Hunger Games movie roundtables, so we didn’t have to choose between Team Peeta or Team Gale. Peeta is the competitor from Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence)’s district who plays up his crush on her for media attention. Gale is the boy she leaves behind to fight other kids to the death on national television. The boys kept the conversation going and we had a chance to ask plenty of questions about the big franchise and their upcoming films, Expendables 2 for Hemsworth and Red Dawn for Hutcherson.
CraveOnline: Josh, following your career has been interesting since Zathura. I saw your next film Detention already which you made before this, so why did you want to produce and star in that, and then how did landing Hunger Games change the career plan?
Josh Hutcherson: Well, getting behind the camera is something I’ve always wanted to get involved with. Ever since I was doing movies like Zathura I was very interested in all the different jobs on set and kind of soaking all the information up like a sponge. And I love storytelling so for me to get behind a story and get in there early in its infancy and kind of develop it in the early stages was something I really wanted to be a part of. And I read this crazy script that Joseph Khan had written. It was so out there and so something I’d never read before and that’s the kind of thing I want to do is surprise people and be different. I met with Joseph, I wanted to see what kind of crazy man created this story. It was a movie about time travel and a thriller and it’s all over the place and so current and fresh. We just had a very similar vision for it and got involved. After that, obviously acting is my number one priority. The Hunger Games for me is I love the books so much and the character and the story were incredible. That’s kind of the game plan is just do really interesting stories with interesting characters.
What did you think of the violence in the book?
Liam Hemsworth: The good thing about it is it’s not glorified in any way. We’re showing a situation that these kids are caught in and being forced to do but the violence is not glorified. Most of the kids in there are not wanting to be doing it. The people that live in these districts, they don’t want to watch it. They don’t want to see their children die or killing other people. The only people that it is entertainment to are the people in the capital that have been brainwashed and are misguided and living in a completely unrealistic kind of world.
Did the violence ever give you pause?
Josh Hutcherson: No, not really. I think the brutality is important to convey as part of the story, to see how brutal it is to have these kids in battle with one another. But I think what Liam said just kind of hit it spot on, that the people in the capital are brainwashed and such a disconnect with what’s actually happening. They don’t realize what if it was their kids that were being put into the games? They just don’t have the mindset to have that kind of compassion for people.
Liam, did doing this and being part of the Lionsgate family lead to Expendables 2?
Liam Hemsworth: No, it wasn’t because of that. Three years ago I was supposed to be in the first Expendables film. Stallone had called me when I still lived in Australia after I’d sent a tape over for the first film. The script ended up getting rewritten for that one but I met him about a year later when I was living in the states and he was talking about when they were going to make the second one and he said, “I’d love to talk to you about it when it comes around.” It came back around and he called me and said, “I have this part that I’d love you to do.” It was kind of Stallone the whole time.
Is this even more monumental than the first, getting to have scenes with not just Stallone but Arnold, Willis and Van Damme too?
Liam Hemsworth: Yeah, I had everyone and anyone that I’d grown up watching in action films. As a young male actor it was pretty incredible to be on set with them and interacting with them and hanging out with them. It was pretty cool.
Would The Kid have been the character in Expendables 1 or did they write a whole new one?
Liam Hemsworth: It’s all a new character. It’s similar but it’s a different character.
Crave Online: What’s the last version of Red Dawn you’ve seen?
Josh Hutcherson: I saw a version of it, it’s probably been a year ago at this point. I think they made some changes since then but I like it. It’s very action packed. It’s a very exciting movie and the characters, you really care about them and to me in a movie, especially an action film, it’s important to have characters you care about so when you see them get shot or you see them get shot or you see them get hit, you actually have an “Oh my God, my character that I like is gonna get killed.”
You saw it before they changed it to Korea?
Josh Hutcherson: I did, yeah. It was still Chinese last time I saw it. It is weird. I mean, I shot it three years ago, quite a while. It’s cool. I mean, it’s a really cool movie and it’s something that I’m really proud of and excited for it to finally come out. I love the original and it’s got the heart of the same kind of idea of these young kids [who] band together to fight against something bigger than them which is a lot like Hunger Games in a way but I’m really excited for it to finally come out. It’s nice.
How do you process this Team Peeta and Team Gale business?
Liam Hemsworth: We started Team Haymitch. We need to get some T-shirts made up and wear them everywhere we go on tour.
Josh Hutcherson: That’s what we should wear. We won’t change them once either. It’s going to get nasty but we believe in it. It’s a cause that we’re fighting for.
Liam Hemsworth: That’s the amount of dedication we have. In fact, I might just tattoo Haymitch’s face onto my face so I can be him. That’s what I’m thinking.
Josh Hutcherson: That’s commitment.
Josh, how did you feel about your Spider-Man audition getting out and people thinking it was quite good?
Josh Hutcherson: I was happy people liked it. It literally was so beyond never meant to get out. There was five people who had it. I don't know who in the world put it on. My stunt guy and the studio, Sony had it and that was it. But it was just something that literally I wanted to play Spider-Man because I love superheroes and I thought it’d be really cool so my friends and I got together that were stunt guys and were like, “Let’s frigging make a video. What could happen? What’s the worst that could happen?” I was like okay, cool and we had a good time making it. Yeah, it was pretty cool. It was fun. I love doing stunts and action stuff.
Liam Hemsworth: I haven’t seen your tape so I don't know exactly what it was.
Josh Hutcherson: It’s all right. It’s cool. The action is cool.
Liam Hemsworth: Is it like an actual edited like different scenes?
Josh Hutcherson: Yeah, we had a guy edit it, a friend of ours edit it, put in sound effects and a score. I was so embarrassed that it got out. I was like oh my God.
Liam Hemsworth: I want to see it. Is it still out there?
Josh Hutcherson: I’m sure it is.
Liam Hemsworth: I’m going to watch it.
Josh Hutcherson: You’re very adamant about this. I’m gonna watch it. I’m going to memorize it.
They should at least invite you to the premiere.
Josh Hutcherson: Yeah, I’ll put it out there. I’ll take it. I’ll take that for sure.
As action movie fans, were you fans of The Running Man?
Josh Hutcherson: Of course, yeah. It’s funny that people make some comparison to that. I totally, totally see that. Yeah, it’s a great movie.
Liam Hemsworth: I remember watching that when I was really young. My brothers were watching it, I wasn’t supposed to watch it because I was too young. I remember walking in on it and I think I watched a little and then my mom told me to get out.
Crave Online: The amazing thing was that was before reality TV happened. This is during it.
Josh Hutcherson: Yeah, Suzanne, the way she said she came up with the idea, she was like flipping back and forth on TV channels. And she kept on flipping back and forth between the war that was going on in Iraq and a reality TV show. She was like, “What if these two worlds combined?” And then wrote The Hunger Games.
What scenes from the next book are you looking forward to filming?
Josh Hutcherson: There’s a bunch. For me, book two has some really interesting elements and the uprising is really cool to see that stirring and happening. Busting out of the arena I think is going to be really fun to do. Book three for my character Peeta, he gets to go to this really dark and different place and to go from being in love with Katniss and very open about that to very much the opposite. It’s going to be very fun to play.
Liam Hemsworth: The third book will be great to shoot. There’s a lot of good stuff in that.