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'Hunger Games' Star Josh Hutcherson Talks Gay Attraction, Says He Doesn't Rule It Out

Josh Hutcherson, Straight Talker



Josh Hutcherson on fame, his gay uncles’ legacy, and how the best thing for his ‘Hunger Games’ character might be a threesome

Photography by Nino Muñoz | Styling by Neil Rodgers

We’ve barely started lunch, and I’m nowhere near my usual open-ended sexuality question, when Josh Hutcherson offers this: “I would probably list myself as mostly straight.”

That “mostly” is what makes Hutcherson winningly uninhibited, but also typical of his generation. New research published in The New York Times in 2010 shows that an increasing number of guys his age identify as “mostly straight,” and Hutcherson’s ease in embracing ambiguity over neat and secure boxes speaks to his self-assurance.

“Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight,” he says. “But who knows? In a fucking year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person.”

Hutcherson grew up in Union, Ky., a small town close to the Ohio border, and his slouchy, chill California vibe is still tinged with a soft Southern accent. Everything he says sounds easygoing. “I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know?” he says. “I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”

Hutcherson is not exactly an average 21-year-old. He’s one of the stars of the blockbuster Hunger Games films, he’s rich and famous, and he’s self-aware enough to grasp how good he’s got it. Yet his take on sexuality reflects a healthy skepticism of labels that’s helping shift American public opinion on LGBT equality.

According to Cornell University psychology professor Ritch Savin-Williams, whose work was the basis of that New York Times op-ed, many “mostly straight” young men see the fight for LGBT equality as the defining civil rights movement of their time, just as Hutcherson does. But they’re neither just allies nor passing through before coming out as gay or bi. “These are the Kinsey 1s,” Savin-Williams says, meaning they fall just to the queer side of totally heterosexual on the famous sliding scale of sexuality. “Their primary object of desire is women. They’re not giving that up—they’re just adding to it.”

Hutcherson seems delighted by the complicated nature of human sexuality, but he doesn’t take sex too seriously—“Sometimes the rhythm isn’t right or you’re trying to make a new position work and it really doesn’t, and you have to laugh”—and isn’t allergic to oversharing. Of nude photos it’s rumored he posted to a dating site, he shrugs off any comment except to say, “I find it so shocking still that nakedness is so shocking.”

He definitely doesn’t understand judgmental attitudes toward gay people, which is why he cofounded Straight But Not Narrow, a youth organization that focuses on arming allied kids with the confidence and tools they need to speak out against homophobia. “Sometimes it’s frustrating to comprehend how people are not OK with it. If you can try to tell me how it’s hurting you, you’re crazy. You’re absolutely crazy. Like, what do you mean it’s not natural? Even if—even if, which, I disagree, but even if—why the fuck do you care?”

Despite his matinee-idol jaw and ability to smolder on command in photographs—and the fact that he spent more than a decade in Hollywood before being allowed to legally drink—Hutcherson is almost disconcertingly nice and level-headed. At our low-key, out-of-the-way Los Angeles lunch spot, he runs into two separate groups of people he knows. When he goes over to talk to some guys from Twenty One Pilots, a band he loves and met at a concert in Ohio, he politely reintroduces himself.

It helps that he was clearly well-adjusted before getting into the business. The Hutcherson family Golden Rule was “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” a simple moral compass that kept him out of trouble when he left Kentucky and started acting at age 9. He worked steadily playing a series of sweet but-moody kids on TV and the big screen, studying with tutors on set. But unlike some child stars, he doesn’t have regrets about skipping out on school—except one: “I would have liked to start a GSA or help out kids that were feeling bullied or discriminated against.”

His breakout role was as Annette Bening and Julianne Moore’s son in The Kids Are All Right. There’s a memorable confrontation with his moms, who are convinced he’s keeping some big secret (they don’t know he and his sister have tracked down their biological dad, played by Mark Ruffalo). “You guys thought I was gay?” he asks, surprised and a little hurt that they thought he’d hide that.

In The Hunger Games, there’s no question that he’s the leader of Team Nice Guy, a.k.a. Peeta Mellark. When he’s chosen at random to fight to the death against two dozen other teenagers, even Peeta’s mom bets on heroine Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) to ultimately survive the kill-or-be-killed tournament.

Over the four-film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s best-selling books—the first movie made almost $700 million at the box office worldwide; its sequel, Catching Fire, comes out this month—Katniss is torn between her feelings for Peeta, who helps save their lives more than once, and for her best guy friend, the tall, dark, and handsome Gale (Liam Hemsworth). All three sides of the love triangle get stuck in the midst of a massive civil war. “They’re having a tough time,” Hutcherson says.

Maybe because the films are so intense, and because he spends so much time answering the same banal questions at press junkets, Hutcherson seems to relish the opportunity to lighten the mood. When I suggest a threesome might be a more expedient solution to at least some of Peeta’s problems, he immediately agrees: “I know Peeta would be into it, for sure. He’s very sensitive, in touch with his emotions. I think it really might solve a lot of their problems. You know what? I’m going to pitch that idea. Let’s make it a—what’s it called when three people are in a relationship together? A triad?” He rolls his eyes at his own enthusiasm. “That’ll go over well with Middle America.”

In Catching Fire, Peeta and Katniss are sent back to battle other former champions and forge a tentative alliance with the Golden God-like Finnick (Sam Claflin). Lawrence regularly deflects questions about Claflin’s hot body to Hutcherson, who confirms their bromantic bond. “You know there are just times when you meet people in your life and it clicks instantly?” he asks. “It was like that with Sam. I like people that just let me be myself, and I don’t feel like I have to try to be extra-fancy.”


With such aw-shucks modesty, it’s easy to forget that Hutcherson is as young as he is. Like Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, he’ll emerge on the flip side of the franchise with a massive amount of on-set experience and no small ambitions. His five-year goal, loosely defined, is to produce and direct, both of which he got a taste of with the indie Paradise Lost, set for release in 2014. He executive produced, collaborating closely with first-time director Andrea Di Stefano on everything from casting to blocking shots. “It wasn’t just a vanity credit,” he says. “I really got to influence [the film], which, fuck, made me so hungry to do more like that.” He also co-stars with Benicio Del Toro, playing a young man who learns his girlfriend’s dad is the notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Del Toro and Hutcherson had already worked together, in part of the anthology 7 Days in Havana, directed by Del Toro. In the film, Hutcherson played an American actor who is surprised—but not exactly deterred—when he learns the hot girl he picked up at a raucous Havana bar is actually male. “I think anybody would feel a little uncomfortable in that situation, the way the world is right now,” he says. “But what is she supposed to do?”

At a midsummer charity basketball game held just outside Los Angeles’s Staples Center, hundreds of fans scream every time Hutcherson has possession of the ball. He’s a dogged player despite his size—save for maybe on an IMAX screen, he’ll never be mistaken for tall—shouldering his way through a motley crew of other actors and athletes for a layup.

Inside Staples, One Direction plays the third of their sold-out, four-night run. The adjacent plaza at the heart of the sprawling L.A. Live sports and entertainment complex is overrun by tweens and teenagers and their agreeably put-upon parents. It’s the perfect captive audience for Hutcherson. Before the game and again at halftime, he steps up to center court with a microphone to talk about Straight But Not Narrow, which for the second year is the beneficiary of this fundraiser.

The group acknowledges both NBA player Jason Collins and a young transgender college student, Zachary Kerr, for their work to raise awareness. “Our main goal is to just show people that you can be yourself,” Hutcherson tells the crowd, “which is something that some of us take for granted, I think.”

He presents Kerr with a team jersey, and goads him—nicely—into attempting a free throw. They seem like old friends though they’ve only met the day before. Kerr, 19, travels to schools across Massachusetts, talking about his gender transition. He was already a fan of Hutcherson’s movies but is now most impressed by his activism. “I’ve never met anyone before who identified as a straight ally and had as much passion for this work as I did,” Kerr tells me.

“As soon as I got any ounce of notoriety to bring attention to any kind of issue, it was just an obvious choice,” Hutcherson says. “Look at any voting map, and even in a state that’s completely red, if you look where a college is—young, educated people—it’s blue, without fail. That’s got to show that the next generation, and people who get an education, are less ignorant.”

That pocket of blue in the middle of a sea of red is Hutcherson’s sweet spot, just a bigger version of growing up in a progressive family in Kentucky. “My grandma had four boys,” says his mother, Michelle. “Two of the four were gay.” Steve and Jamie were barely older than Michelle, and because her parents were only 16 when she was born, “We kind of all grew up together.”

She didn’t really notice that no one else in Kentucky had gay uncles and their partners at family gatherings. “It never was anything different for me,” she says. But in the early 1990s, both Steve and Jamie died of AIDS. “When my Uncle Steve passed away, a friend of his had everybody over after the service,” she says. “I remember thinking, What a great group of guys. Why does anybody have a problem with this?”

Josh tells this story, too. “He died the day after my mom told him she was pregnant with me,” he says. “She was really sad that I never got to meet them. I am, too—they sound amazing.”

“It was an injustice that made zero sense,” Michelle says. After Steve’s death, she and Josh’s dad started volunteering with local AIDS organizations. They stayed close to his partner’s family—the kids all grew up as cousins—and told Josh and his younger brother, Connor, to love whoever they wanted and be happy about it. “I always thought that Steve and Josh would have been so close,” she says. “Steve was very, very driven, very charismatic, very handsome. He always had to be right.”

Hutcherson’s ready to pay it forward. “I have this dream that one day, my kid’s gonna come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, there’s this girl that I like, and there’s this guy that I like, and I don’t know which one I like more, and I don’t know what to do.’ And it’d just be a non-issue, like, ‘Which one is a good person? Which one makes you laugh more?’ ”

He still thinks of himself a kid—he points out, “My job is make-believe”—and his massive fan base, thanks to The Hunger Games, has given him a huge platform. “I’d love to have somebody who disagrees with me come talk to me,” he says, “because I’d like to change their mind. And I think I could.”

He says, sincerely, “I’m ready for a fight.” But this nice guy isn’t coming out swinging as much as he’s extending a friendly hand—to yank anyone who has yet to fully evolve across the finish line with him.

“Talking to kids in school and reaching out through social media we found to be really effective,” he says. “That’s where the bullying happens the most, where people are molded into who they become when they grow up. Kids are so mean to each other sometimes. You’re figuring out who you are, and you’re insecure about it. Especially if you don’t have a great family life or you’re being influenced by a religion too much, a way to feel better sometimes is to put somebody else down. Our goal is making kids more compassionate and more understanding that people are just people. It’s really about being yourself.”

by Anonymousreply 3810/31/2013

He didn't say the nude photo wasn't him. Hot.

by Anonymousreply 110/09/2013


by Anonymousreply 210/09/2013

He looks hot in those photos.

by Anonymousreply 310/09/2013

I wouldn't rule it out either

by Anonymousreply 410/09/2013

Already a thread on this.

by Anonymousreply 510/09/2013


You give me life.

by Anonymousreply 610/09/2013

He is so cute!

by Anonymousreply 710/09/2013

dirty anus

by Anonymousreply 810/10/2013

He's fug and playing the "gay" angle for publicity.

by Anonymousreply 910/10/2013

some pretty boy is gay (!!!!) and sucks cock(!!!) And this is news.

My God, he hardly registers.

by Anonymousreply 1010/10/2013



by Anonymousreply 1110/10/2013

He's another midget, along with Dan Rad and Emile Hirsch. Who cares if he's gay or not? Two threads is two too many.

by Anonymousreply 1210/10/2013

He's my new favorite person, ever. At least for a while!.

by Anonymousreply 1310/10/2013

Doesn't rule out turning gay because we all know that it's a sexual preference. What a world class doodie. Only thing worse are the dummies here who think he's so edgy and cool.

by Anonymousreply 1410/10/2013

Gay face for days...

by Anonymousreply 1510/10/2013

Why in the world would anyone get worked up over the opinions of a 21 year old? He's still developing and right now gay sex (or being gay) seems theoretical to him.

Wait until he meets that guy he wants to kiss. He'll have a clearer picture then.

by Anonymousreply 1610/10/2013

>> “I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”

He sounds reasonable and open-minded. And he's still nearly brand-new. Give him time.

by Anonymousreply 1710/10/2013

I'm guessing he can't come out because of his career but he is planting the seeds now so that in ten years it won't look so tragic when he's on the cover of people as an out gay movie star.

by Anonymousreply 1810/10/2013

He must know if he likes cock or not by now. Does he expect to wake up one day craving cock?

by Anonymousreply 1910/10/2013

When I was around his age I told my first boyfriend that I'm not gay, I don't like other guys, but I do like YOU.

by Anonymousreply 2010/10/2013


by Anonymousreply 2110/10/2013

Oh, I love it when straight people want to show how tolerant they are about homosexuality by pandering to the gays with absolute condescension! Ben Cohen and this guy should found a club: Meddling Celebrities who Play the Ambiguous Straight-but-Curious Angle to Increase their Popularity (and Fill their Pockets).

Who gives a damn about what straight people think about us? I don't care if a random pretty boy actor feels like telling us that, in his opinion, we're OK and maybe, just maybe, he might be bisexual for the right guy - whoa! How edgy and hardcore! We're tolerated by a new crop of vapid, self-serving celebrities!

Now we can say that we have arrived, and we're here to stay (and yes, I'm rolling my eyes as I type all of this).

by Anonymousreply 2210/10/2013

Something about this kid tells me his heart is in the right place, but agree on the Ben Cohen thing. Yeah, he's really hot, but there's something creepy and off-putting in his gay pandering.

by Anonymousreply 2310/10/2013

He's not straight

He's not gay

He's not bi

He's just him

Aka he's mostly straight but has has his face in a man's crotch or two.

by Anonymousreply 2410/10/2013

R22, you're full of cynicism and assholishness. You are why they DESPISE us.

by Anonymousreply 2510/10/2013

No R25, YOU are. You sit there licking up the crumbs of straight folk approval like a gay Stepin Fetchit. Die loser, die.

by Anonymousreply 2610/10/2013

R26, you are the type who complains when someone says something that might be the slightest bit homophobic, and then you complain some more when an actor who may be straight says that he wouldn't be opposed to a little man-on-man action. What exactly do you want? Would you have been happy if he told OUT magazine to go fuck themselves because he is a straight man who wouldn't dare pose for the cover of a gay magazine? Again, you are why they DESPISE us.

by Anonymousreply 2710/10/2013

For R27, oh, yassuh, boss, I'se sho is happy dese here straight folks be feedin' us dey fabalus crumbs by 'tendin' dey is gay, yassuh.

by Anonymousreply 2810/10/2013

R28, LOL! You are completely right, though. We should be equal in everything to heterosexual people because we ARE the same in all respects beyond sexuality. Having the same rights and opportunities should be a given, not some sort of grace that they give us out of the kindness of their hearts.

Seriously, who gives a fuck about whether these people accept us or not? We don't need them to treat us like you would treat an overeager lap dog, showing us attention from the lofty heights of their tolerance when they feel like it (and they need money and support for their careers), and then never really doing anything for the gay community.

As for you, R27, go fuck yourself. I'm sure you're one of those ridiculous faggots who blame "nelly queens" for all the evils in your life, and is desperate to be (and to bed) "one of the boys". It's because of desperate cretins like you that they think they can manipulate us, and don't respect us at all.

by Anonymousreply 2910/11/2013

What r28 and r29 said. I'll agree that we need allies. But not patronizing ones.

by Anonymousreply 3010/11/2013

I think you're over-reacting, r29, especially about this actor in particular.

He didn't call a press conference to announce his tolerance, or jump on a soapbox to spout his views. He was asked some questions by a gay publication that was interviewing him, and he answered to the best of his ability, perpective and experiences.

I don't see it as pandering at all.

by Anonymousreply 3110/11/2013

Exactly, R31. People like R29, R22, R26 just look for every little thing to pounce on. They're serial complainers. If someone says they're not comfortable around gays, they cry homophobia. If someone says they love gays and would be open to a gay experience, they cry pandering. It's a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation, and it's pathetic.

by Anonymousreply 3210/11/2013

No, R32, it isn't pathetic. Unlike you, some gay men have dignity and aren't willing to sell themselves for a bit of straight acceptance. Which IS what's ABSOLUTELY pathetic.

by Anonymousreply 3310/14/2013

What R33 said.

R32 sounds like a gay Uncle Tom.

We need a name for gays who pander to straight people for approval...what should it be? Aunt Marys?

by Anonymousreply 3410/14/2013

R33--something tells me this Josh kid is one of us, rather than an ass-kissing publicity seeker. Like Franco, he will dance around the gay stuff until he meets the right guy.

by Anonymousreply 3510/14/2013

R33 and R34 deserve to be ostracized. They're both as Mary as the day is long.

by Anonymousreply 3610/14/2013

Is Dan Rad in that hallowed duet too?

by Anonymousreply 3710/14/2013

Josh Hutcherson to the press on Nov 24th, after hosting SNL:

"Oh, yeah. The AT&T guy. HIM."

by Anonymousreply 3810/31/2013
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