Joshua Ryan Hutcherson (born October 12, 1992) is an American actor and producer. A native of Kentucky, Hutcherson began his acting career in the early 2000s and appeared in several commercials and minor film and television roles before landing his first major role in 2002 in the pilot episode of House Blend. His first film role was in Miracle Dogs (2003) on Animal Planet, followed by a motion-capture performance in The Polar Express (2004) and a voice-acting role in Howl's Moving Castle (2005).
Hutcherson's other early film appearances include Little Manhattan, Zathura: A Space Adventure (both 2005), RV (2006), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008), and The Kids Are All Right (2010). In 2011, he landed the leading role of Peeta Mellark in the box office record-setting film series The Hunger Games, released annually from 2012 to 2015, for which he won three MTV Movie Awards and a People's Choice Award. During the same period he also played a lead role in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012) and a voice role in the animated film Epic (2013).
Throughout his career, Hutcherson has expressed an interest in directing and producing. He has served as an executive producer in Detention (2011), The Forger (2012) and Escobar: Paradise Lost (2015), while also playing a lead role in each film. He is also heavily involved in the gay–straight alliance chapter called "Straight But Not Narrow"
Born in Union, Kentucky, on October 12, 1992, Hutcherson is the elder son of Michelle (née Fightmaster), a former Delta Air Lines employee who now assists with Josh's career, and Chris Hutcherson, an analyst for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His parents, who were also born and raised in Kentucky, met in high school in Dry Ridge. He has one younger brother, Connor.
Hutcherson's interest in acting developed as a child despite his parents' concerns about the profession. According to the actor himself, he had "loved the entertainment industry" from the age of four. His father said that his son was compelled to perform for people from a very young age, possessing a personality that attracted people's attention. His mother said that he "bugged us so much" into becoming an actor, but believed it was a phase he was going through and would grow out of. Aged eight, Hutcherson went through the yellow pages and contacted an acting agency. In January 2002, he and his mother met acting coach Bob Luke, who travelled from New York City to Kentucky to meet them. Luke advised them to go to Los Angeles and begin auditioning Hutcherson for TV pilots. At the time, his only acting experience had been in a Kroger television commercial and a Vacation Bible School training film. For three years, Hutcherson and his mother lived in Los Angeles' Oakwood apartments, a housing community that accommodates young child actors and their families.
Most of Hutcherson's childhood was spent on film sets rather than in a classroom. He attended New Haven Elementary School in Union until he began his career at the age of nine, after which he began homeschooling, with his mother as his teacher. He later returned to Kentucky to attend Ryle High School for one semester. Hutcherson played on the high school's soccer team and has been a keen sports enthusiast since, also displaying a passion for football and tennis. At the age of 13, he participated in a triathlon. He later said of his schooling experiences, "I know it's something kids have to deal with every single day but getting up at the same time every day and having to listen to teachers talk about things I could learn so much more easily on my own, I hated it."
Hutcherson has cited actor Jake Gyllenhaal as an inspiration, admiring the way Gyllenhaal "has taken his career and the kind of jobs that he's taken". He has also named actor, director, and producer Philip Seymour Hoffman as another of his inspirations.
Hutcherson currently lives in Los Angeles, California. In May 2012, he purchased the 1,861-square-foot $2.5 million former house of Heath Ledger in Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, a small ranch built in 1951. He professes that his fame has not changed him as a person, stating, "I love my job more than anything in the world and I could never imagine doing anything else. So this whole thing is a very small price to pay compared to someone who has to go to an office to work."
As a known ally to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community, Hutcherson advocates the gay–straight alliance campaign "Straight But Not Narrow". Since its formation, he has been its most active supporter. His involvement with the LGBT community stems from his family ties; two of his uncles who were gay died of AIDS-related illnesses. In April 2012, he became the youngest recipient of the Vanguard Award from GLAAD, given for promoting equal rights for LGBT people. He was also awarded with Young Humanitarian Award at the 2015 unite4:humanity award ceremony. Regarding his own sexuality, he considers himself to be "mostly straight" and does not believe in being limited by labels. Hutcherson also worked alongside The Trevor Project and human-I-T in 2014 when he began his campaign "Power On", which serves to help young LGBT people from rural areas to form communities by donating old computers and cell phones to LGBT resource centers; he began the campaign by donating an old computer of his own. Annually from 2012 through 2014, he has hosted the "Josh Hutcherson Celebrity Basketball Game" in Los Angeles, which raises funds and awareness for the "Straight But Not Narrow" campaign. In November 2013, Hutcherson and Queen Latifah presented trophies together to four young community volunteers in a live ceremony at the fifth annual TeenNick HALO Awards at the Hollywood Palladium.
Hutcherson endorsed and actively campaigned for Senator Bernie Sanders for President in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.