Before he signed on to "The Hunger Games," everyone warned Josh Hutcherson that taking part in the massively popular franchise would change his life.
Over a month after the film's release, the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' novel has racked up a phenomenal $600 million in ticket sales worldwide. But Hutcherson, 19, says the success of the movie hasn't affected his personal life.
"Everyone was telling me that my whole world was going to change and I couldn't go anywhere or it'd be too crazy," the actor said in Las Vegas last week, where he was named the Breakthrough Performer of the Year by theater owners at CinemaCon.
The paparazzi barely follow him, Hutcherson said — and even when they do, he tries not to alter his behavior.
"I think sometimes when people get in the spotlight, they feel like they have to act and behave a certain way to live up to what people expect of them," he said. "For me, I'm just going to be myself and live my life the way I'm going to. I'm not going to let paparazzi determine the way I live."
Meanwhile, Hutcherson is readying himself to shoot "Catching Fire," the second installment in the series, starting this August. Despite the fact that the start date is rapidly approaching, the actor says he has yet to speak with Francis Lawrence, who is taking over directing duties from Gary Ross.
"I have heard from literally everyone that he's the nicest man alive, so I'm really excited to work with him," Hutcherson said, adding that he's a big fan of Lawrence's "I Am Legend" but has yet to watch the filmmaker's most recent movie, "Water for Elephants."
"I still have to do some of the homework," he said with a smile.
— Amy Kaufman
Photo: Josh Hutcherson stars in "The Hunger Games." Credit: Lionsgate.