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The Kids are all Right – Josh Hutcherson on working with great actors

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The Kids Are All Right - Josh Hutcherson
Laser (Josh Hutcherson) © Focus Features

Josh Hutcherson is one of the most sought after young actors in Hollywood starring in such films as Zathura: A Space Adventure, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Bridge to Terabithia and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

In is current movie, The Kids Are All Right, Hutcherson portrays Laser, the 15-year-old son of a lesbian couple, Nic and Jules (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), who longs to find out who his biological father is. With the help of his older sister, Joni (Mia Wasikowska), they contact their bio-dad, Paul (Mark Ruffalo), an easygoing bachelor who becomes a part of the family’s life, beginning a new chapter for all of them.

What did you like about the script when you first read it?

The Kids Are All Right - Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mia Wasikowska
Laser (Josh Hutcherson), Jules (Julianne Moore), Nic (Annette Bening) and Joni (Mia Wasikowska) © Focus Features

I thought it was a really great story, and the character’s dialogue was so real and honest, I felt like I’d never read anything so true before. And the fact that it was a movie about a family, and my character is a kid who is trying to figure who he was in life, it was just something that I felt was very relatable on many levels.

Your character, Laser, is the most grounded of the whole family.

I think Laser is a very grounded character. He’s going through a point in life where he’s trying to figure out who he is, and as a teenager myself I know exactly what that’s like. I think everybody, especially teenagers, at some point in their life go through a point of figuring out who they are, and I think for me that was really real and something that drew me to the character.

Where do you think Laser’s yearning comes from about finding his biological father?

I think Laser’s yearning to know what his father was like came from a place of curiosity really, because Laser’s an athletic kid and neither of his moms are athletic. So he’s like, ‘I don’t know why I am the way I am.’ His moms have obviously done a great job of raising him, he’s a very happy kid, they love him a lot and there’s a good balance of strict parenting and not strict parenting between the two moms.

Since you’re not looking for your dad in real life, how did you relate to the turmoil your character was going through?

I think a lot of that I gained through the writing. I think the writing in this was incredible, the dialogue was so real and the characters are very well developed, and because of that I sort of got that feeling And Lisa (Cholodenko, the movie’s director) knowing the characters as well as she does, any time I’d have a question she was great to go to and figure out more about the character that I didn’t understand.

Can you talk about working with these great actors?

The Kids Are All Right - Josh Hutcherson, Mia Wasikowska and Mark Ruffalo
Laser (Josh Hutcherson), Joni (Mia Wasikowska) and Paul (Mark Ruffalo) © Focus Features

It’s amazing, the actors and actresses in this are so good. And before I met Annette, Julianne and Mark, I was so nervous and definitely intimidated.

I met them and they were just such real people and so down-to-earth. Annette and Julianne are moms in real life and so they would know what it’s like to be a parent, and that mothering quality definitely came through.

It was intimidating but, at the same time, it was a great learning experience to see how natural and easygoing they were.

Do you have a sister, because your relationship to Mia was very strong?

Thanks, no I don’t have a sister. I have a younger brother, and she has a younger brother, so I think because she had a younger brother she could definitely drop into that dynamic. And Mia is such a sweet girl, so nice and a little quiet until you get to know her and then she’s a fireball.

You just did a remake of Red Dawn, can you talk a little about your role in that?

Yeah, definitely. My role in Red Dawn is C Thomas Howell’s character, Robert, and it’s a very intense action movie. A lot of explosions, a lot of stunts; a very different feel from this, but it has a lot of heart too, which is nice.

Did you watch the original?

Yes, I’ve seen the original many times. It’s a really cool movie.

It’s a classic, is that daunting to you?

Yeah, it’s so great it’s pretty hard to redo. It’s very daunting, but I think that we had a really cool script that was different than the original. It definitely has a similar feel to the original with the heart and characters, but we definitely modernized it.

Is the sequel to Journey to the Center of the Earth still happening?

It is, definitely, it’s going to happen this fall, played out in some exotic, amazing location.

In 3D?

3D, yes. The technology is insane. James Cameron, who did Avatar, the most amazing 3D effects movie of all time, designed the cameras for that and so we used these cameras that were actually two separate lenses that shot the left eye and the right eye, and they converged together and made the image, and it was incredible.

Did you expect that there would be a sequel?

It’s always based on how well the first one does, and luckily and thankfully it was received very well. It was kind of the first feature that was made in 3D. Other things before that were in 3D were converted in post-production, but we shot it in 3D, and the fact that people loved it is awesome and now we’re making another one.