Before Josh Hutcherson starred in Little Manhattan, the actor nabbed a few prior roles. But once the 2005 flick officially premiered, it was obvious that the Kentucky native would be a star. While his younger years were full of movies like RV, Firehouse Dog and Bridge to Terabithia, among others, it wasn’t until the first Hunger Games movie premiered in 2012 that people really started to know Josh’s name.

“That was, like, such a coming-of-age time for me. It was the first time I was away from my family, and on my own,” the actor told Entertainment Weekly in May 2020 when looking back at his role. “It was worlds apart from anything I have ever experienced. It’s like a double-edged sword. Obviously, the benefit of having more projects come your way is great. But when I set out to become an actor at 8, being famous and being recognized was not on my radar. I just wanted to make movies. That naiveté followed me until The Hunger Games slapped me in the face.”

Josh starred as Peeta Mellark in the four-film franchise — based off the book series of the same name by Suzanne Collins, and also starring Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth— which came to an end with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 in 2015.

“It’s hard for anybody to digest, especially being a kid from Kentucky,” he told EW of the fame that came following The Hunger Games premiere. “It made me realize the kind of actor I wanted to be. The idea of doing big, big projects that make you even more well-known doesn’t sound as appetizing. If that opportunity came up again, I would have to think about it more.”

While starring as fan-favorite character Peeta, the Kids Are All Right star also appeared in a few other movies — like Red Dawn — and kicked off his career as an executive producer. Once The Hunger Games mania died down after the final film, Josh became the star of the 2017 Hulu series Future Man.

“I thought it was really weird, really funny,” he told EW. “And I was like, ‘OK I’ve never done TV. I’ve never done comedy. What better group of people to take a swing at this?’ It was so fun.”

No matter what he does next, though, Josh is always ready to reprise his Hunger Games role — even for the upcoming prequel.

“I don’t know anything about it story-wise, but if it has to do with how we got to the world of the Hunger Games, then I think that’s going to be super-interesting,” the star told Entertainment Tonight in September 2020. “I would like Peeta to be in it because I would like to be with these people again and work more in that world.”

Click through our gallery to see Josh’s total transformation over the years. 

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