While 14-year-old Josh Hutcherson has been making movies for five years, Friday’s opening of “Bridge to Terabithia” looks like the star-maker.
There’s been strong early critical buzz, but most telling are the teen and ‘tween fan sites.
“You have made a lot of wonderful heart warming movies that have touched me and almost made me cry,” gushes one message on his official fan site (www.joshhutcherson.com).
“My friend and i were watching disney and we saw u and we had to look u up cuz u were so cute!!” shrieks another.
Hutcherson has just been crowned this month’s hottie on www.popstaronline.com.
An interview in his Union home finds the teen heartthrob bemused by the online adulation.
“Hey, I still get grounded and do chores,” he says, laughing.
While he’s been home only about six months in the last year and logged more than 50,000 frequent-flier miles filming “RV,” “Firehouse Dog,” “Terabithia” and “Journey 3-D” in Montreal, Vancouver, New Zealand and Iceland, respectively, at heart he describes himself as a Kentucky kid who has no intention of going Hollywood.
“I’ve been raised here and I still like to hang out at Skyline and Graeter’s, and play football with the neighborhood kids.”
An actor since age 9, Hutcherson is not formally trained, “although I took one acting seminar to try it once when I was 9.”
He says role preparation was a breeze for 2005’s “Zathura,” as he played a creepy big brother.
“I have a younger brother, so I can relate,” says Hutcherson, whose little brother is 10.
The Hutchersons are close-knit. Mom Michelle accompanies Josh on shoots, as does his English boxer, Diesel.
Michelle says she hasn’t seen her son change much in the years they’ve been flying around the world.
“That’s why we live in Kentucky. He’s a pretty normal kid who just happens to have cool toys and celebrity friends.”
Josh agrees: “Even though I talk about making deals, I’m still a kid.”
And don’t get him started on the bad behavior of Hollywood teens. “They need to get grounded by their parents,” he says. “Or they need to come to Kentucky for a while.”