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'Hunger Games' star Josh Hutcherson would be lost without his pooch - Metro US

‘Hunger Games’ star Josh Hutcherson would be lost without his pooch

attends the 'Escobar: Paradise Lost' Red Carpet during the 9th Rome Film Festival on October 19, 2014 in Rome, Italy.
Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty images

The release of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” might just be the beginning of the end for the super-successful dystopian franchise (“Part 2” won’t be out for another year), but Josh Hutcherson is all done. And he’s ready to relax and take it easy at home for a while — at least to keep his dog happy.

It’s sort of past tense now that you’re done shooting the “Hunger Games” films, but how did you fit in other projects between movies?
Between the first “Hunger Games” and the second one, I didn’t do anything. I really enjoyed just living — which is so nice, by the way. Living is a great thing to do. You forget how nice it is until you do it sometimes. But then between “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay,” I really want to do this project, “Escobar: Paradise Lost,” and make it work. I read the script for it before I even did the first “Hunger Games,” but it was just about finding the time for it. It was really important to me.

Do you have a sense of needing to seize on opportunities while they’re plentiful and your profile is raised?
Truthfully, I haven’t stopped working since I was 9. For the last 12 years, I’ve done almost a movie or two every year. So it’s a lot, and I’m kind of now just realizing that the success of “Hunger Games” has afforded me the ability to not have to work right now. Yeah, there’s an element of wanting to strike while the iron’s hot, of course, and because of that I’m creating relationships with directors and producers and reading so many scripts, but I don’t really feel pressure to work right now. I actually feel the opposite. I feel that I have a pressure to relax. (laughs) “Sit down! Stop moving for one week!” No, so it’s good for right now. I don’t have another project planned, I’m just taking it easy and reading scripts. I also want to develop stuff. I want to produce and direct in the future, so it’s kind of getting my first step into that world as well.

I feel like you mentioned an idea of directing way back when we talked for “the Kids are All Right.” How has that progressed since then?
To producing. I’ve sort of gotten involved in that, and I think just through experience. Just being experienced on set and learning more from directors I’ve worked with, reading more stories and reading more scripts, you know more. I want to know more things before I direct. I don’t think I’m smart enough yet.

I don’t know, I’ve met some pretty dumb directors.
Oh yeah? Then f— it, let’s do it right now! (laughs)

If you’re being forced to relax, what does that involve?
I was actually just in Hawaii, and that involved doing nothing. If I’m relaxing, I want to be doing nothing. I like to sleep a lot, lay in the sand, swim in the ocean — that’s my idea of relaxing. But honestly for me, just hanging out. I don’t do a whole lot. (laughs) I like to go out, have some fun, go to some bars or something, but really just relaxing with friends, hanging out at the house, listening to music — my dog, I’m with my dog all of the time. He’s the love of my life.

It must be tough being away from him for work, then.
That’s the worst, man. It’s also hard, too, because you can’t explain to them. You can’t be like, “Listen, I’m going to head out” — I mean, I still do anyway — “I’m going to head out, I’m going to be back soon. I love you, I’ll be back, don’t worry.” And then that look, when you leave, oh my God. Every time I leave my house, even just to go to lunch or something and my dog’s in my house, he’s like, “Wait … you’re leaving me?” Because they don’t know. Sometimes you leave and it’s a couple hours, sometimes it’s a couple weeks or months — at least in my work — so it’s like, s—, I feel so bad for them.

I always worry I’ll come home and the dog will be indifferent to me.
That’s my biggest fear. That’s my biggest fear in life. Not death, not getting old, it’s literally my dog not caring about me anymore because I’ve been gone too long.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick

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