The Cool Way Jennifer Lawrence's Hunger Games Co-Star Josh Hutcherson Helped Kickstart Her Acting Career

Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games
(Image credit: (Lionsgate))

It’s been a decade since Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role in Winter’s Bone. It’s a significant role for her because it led to her first Oscar nomination at the age of 20, and it's the performance that led The Hunger Games director Gary Ross to think of her for Katniss Everdeen. As one might imagine, the journey to becoming as successful as J-Law has become is a long road… one that apparently connected the actress to her good friend and co-star, Josh Hutcherson, way before they met.

Katniss and Peeta are the most central relationship in the Hunger Games franchise, which was elevated by the real-life friendship between Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, both Kentucky-born actors now at the top of their 30s. Hutcherson recently reflected on the first time he met her ten years ago with these words:

The very first time that Jen was at the SAG Awards in LA and she was nominated for Winter's Bone and I was there for The Kids Are Alright stuff and she came over to me and told me this story about when she was about ten years old or something and she had seen a local newspaper in Kentucky that this young actor had gone out to California and was making his way as an actor and that was me. And she showed that to her parents and said 'Look I want to do this too, this kid is doing it.' So it's crazy that we ended up doing these movies together. It's just nuts.

What? This is adorable. As Hutcherson told Yahoo! Entertainment, he met Jennifer Lawrence before they were attached to the Hunger Games movies, while separate movies they each starred in were being praised and nominated during Oscar season. Jennifer Lawrence approached Josh Hutcherson to tell him that seeing another actor from her neck of the woods find success in Hollywood actually inspired her to pursue the profession, too. And the odds were clearly in her favor.

Josh Hutcherson started acting back in 2002, nabbing his first high-profile role when he was about twelve for The Polar Express with Tom Hanks. As the actor continued to gain recognition in early movies such as Kicking & Screaming, Little Manhattan, Zathura, RV and Bridge to Terabithia, a young Jennifer Lawrence took notice. They say it's easier to picture yourself somewhere when you know someone doing it, and Hutcherson making his way into her local paper was enough to have her talking to her parents about it.

Of course, Jennifer Lawrence still had to get there on her own. By the time she met Josh Hutcherson at the SAG awards, she gained major attention for Winter’s Bone, and its happenstance the two Kentucky actors ended up in the Hunger Games together. It’s a cute story, but it also shows the power of people finding success with different roots aside from Los Angeles.

Even after the cast said their bittersweet goodbyes to the Hunger Games franchise in 2015, Lawrence and Hutcherson still hang out. The Future Man actor said he and J-Law got together over the summer for a “socially-distanced dinner.” And the actor has even said he would return to Hunger Games “no question” if given the opportunity.

Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins released a prequel titled The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, and it's already set to become a movie under the direction of Francis Lawrence, who was behind every Hunger Games sequel. Peeta and Katniss do not have roles in the prequel book, but we hope the actors will work together again. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more Hunger Games news.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.