Hunger Games stars: Kentucky roots help in bonding

Hunger Games stars: Kentucky roots help in bonding

Like his Hunger Games co-star Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson grew up in the bluegrass-and-bourbon state of Kentucky, which is about as far away from Hollywood as one can get.

The 21-year-old now finds himself fronting The Hunger Games, which is shaping up to be one of the biggest young-adult movie franchises since Twilight or Harry Potter, as the widely anticipated second film in the series opens this week.

Hutcherson's breakout role as Peeta Mellark - who is told he must fight and kill the girl he loves, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), in a cruel gladiator- style tournament - has made him a bona fide movie star.

And one adored, no less, by an extremely devoted fanbase who loves both The Hunger Games movies and the books they were adapted from. He admits that the fans can be a little "hardcore", but above all, "they are passionate".

"Every time we go to one of the events or premieres, they are there with their signs and their books. And really it's because of them and their passion that we were able to make the movies the way we do.

"The fact that so many people got to see the first movie means we were able to make the second one and, hopefully, they see the second one so the third and fourth ones aren't a bust," he says.

In the second film, Katniss and Peeta find themselves thrown together after winning the annual Hunger Games in the first film, and forced by the country's spin doctors to feign a blossoming romance while they tour the country as the first-ever joint victors.

Hutcherson thinks that the Kentucky roots that he shared with Lawrence, 23, played a part in him landing the coveted role opposite her.

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