Interviews, Part Two: Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Jacqueline Emerson in ‘The Hunger Games’

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CHICAGO – In Part Two of “The Hunger Games” interviews, Josh Hutcherson (Peeta), Isabelle Fuhrman (Clove) and Jacqueline Emerson (Foxface) talk about aspects of the business they’ve chosen, growing up with technology and more.

It is Josh Hutcherson who has the largest acting resume. He began in the business when he was nine years old with the TV movie “House Blend” (2002). From there he appeared in such diverse films as “Kicking and Screaming” (2005), “RV” (2006) and “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008), before getting a prominent part in the Oscar nominated, “The Kids Are All Right” (2010).

Isabelle Fuhrman had small TV and film parts, until she broke out with “Orphan” in 2009, and has worked steadily since. Jacqueline Emerson is the rookie, as “The Hunger Games” is her first film role, but had done stage work beforehand and toured with “Dev2.o,” a Walt Disney sponsored rock band.

Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) in ‘The Hunger Games’
Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) in ‘The Hunger Games’
Photo credit: Murray Close for Lionsgate

After the film was discussed, talked with Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson on a variety of different topics, to get a read on the state of being in the movies as a young actor. How do you all best survive the rigors of the audition process in the film business, especially when you are up against similar ‘types’ in a cattle call situation?

Isabelle Fuhrman: You have those moments where you get attached to a part and it doesn’t go your way. But as my mother always told me, if one door closes, another opens. I find in this business when I forget about a part I’ve auditioned for, a couple months later they will call me back. And I think, ‘that thing?’ That kind of moment shocks you even more, and is exciting.

Josh Hutcherson: For me, family and friends are very important, surrounding yourself with the right kind of people on all levels, especially in dealing with rejection. Also the way I was raised. I grew up with the thinking that all things happen for a reason. If I don’t get a part, it’s for a reason. It’s funny, because I’ve been asked what it’s like to live in Los Angeles and have it be so competitive. I’ve never looked at acting as a competition, not once in my entire life. It’s always been I’m either right for the role or not. I’ve never been angry if I didn’t get a part and I’ve never bragged about getting something. I believe that everyone is right for a role in their own way. As a generation that grew up in a very technologically advanced era, do you perceive that your interactions are different with people then what you observe in older generations, like your parents or grandparents?

Jacqueline Emerson: I definitely do, because when you think about it nowadays, I can communicate with a friend in two seconds who is all the way across the country in Los Angeles. So when you compare that with having to use a land line phone or writing a letter, there is no comparison. But it’s also gotten a lot less personal, which I find sad. I try to maintain a personal relationship with family and friends, but it’s harder with people that you don’t really know. I find there is no emotion behind the words, it’s just words. It becomes hard to take things for what they are, because you don’t know what they are. It’s changed, but you have to adapt.

Fuhrman: I think the more communication we have, the more misunderstanding there is. You can text someone with the best intentions and they’ll ask why you’re mad at them, when you’re not. I don’t like to text, I use it to make plans with people, but I prefer to call. You can hear the intonation in their voice and you can really connect to them. Skype and video chat is even better.

Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) with Josh Hutcherson in ‘The Hunger Games’
Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) with Josh Hutcherson in ‘The Hunger Games’
Photo credit: Murray Close for Lionsgate

Hutcherson: It has made the world a smaller place, which is good in some sense, but it also trains us not to have to be face-to-face with people and that bothers me. It’s a total disconnect. Even with friendships, you can have them and it’s so lazy, you don’t have to do much. It seems that friendships need to be worked on, but with social media and texting, it takes away that personal connection that I literally live for. I’ve had situations where everyone is texting to meet up, and once you get together you realize you can’t hide behind a text any more. I actually have to have a conversation? [laughs] Do you feel like there is more vulnerability as public figures, since there is so many ways to ‘get at you’?

Emerson: Yes, in the sense of cyber bullying. There are so many ways to send anonymous text messages, stuff on Facebook and the like. It’s very hard when you get these anonymous messages, and that is why this bullying is so heightened, because people hide behind it and are being cowards. That is always my response when a person sends me something negative. If they can say it to my face, then at least I would have some respect for them.

Fuhrman: I’m off Facebook. I was on it for awhile, but things got crazy. I just deleted it, and it is a little better. If people want to get a hold of me, they can call or text me. Given that you’ve all been in the performing business for a long time, relative to your age, and given that you’ve had to handle all that has come with it – agents, branding, imaging and the like – do you feel you’ve achieved a level of maturity that is different, again, than your parents or grandparents?

Hutcherson: Yes, completely. I’ve been acting since I’ve been nine years old, and that’s half my life. I’ve learned so much, and it’s different, but I don’t think it was better or worse than growing up in a ‘normal’ environment. I got to have experiences that other kids will have in their entire lives, I’ve got to work with some amazing people and at age 13 I was shooting a movie in New Zealand for four months. In seeing other cultures, even though each individual is different, we are all connected in a way. Once I got that perspective, I found that problems are the same everywhere, there are the same human issues.

Emerson: I’m still in school, a senior in high school. I’ve been lucky, because even though I had the more normal school and high school experience, I also toured with a Walt Disney rock band for awhile in sixth grade, which was totally crazy and fun. Also I traveled with my family, and attended a lot of political events and fundraisers, which gave me a level of awareness that was necessary in those situations.

Fuhrman: When I was growing up, and leaving school to do these jobs, everyone was telling me I was going to miss out on things. But I got to experience so much more, and learn more about people. Like technology opening everything up, there is more globalization once you get to travel outside here.


“The Hunger Games” opens everywhere on March 23rd. Featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz, Josh Hutcherson, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jacqueline Emerson. Screenplay adapted by Gary Ross, Billy Ray and Suzanne Collins (from her novel) Directed by Gary Ross. Rated “PG-13” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Senior Staff Writer

© 2012 Patrick McDonald,

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