“My reaction was anger, initially, and truly disappointment in society as a whole,” Hutcherson said of the nude photo hack over the Labour Day weekend, which resulted in the theft of hundreds of images from dozens of celebrities, most notably his Hunger Games co-star and friend Jennifer Lawrence.
“It’s not something that any of us signed up for,” Hutcherson said. “When Jen started acting she was 12 years old. I started when I was nine. People say if you’re an actor, you have to think about being in the public eye. No, that’s not true.”
The 21-year-old Hutcherson, who will be back as earnest Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 this November, also stars in Escobar: Paradise Lost, a romantic thriller about a young Canadian traveller who falls in love with the niece of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar, played by Benicio del Toro. The movie debuts this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Hutcherson is an affable, easygoing guy, but his eyes darken when he talks about the celebrity photo hack, and how it affected Lawrence and dozens of other actresses, singers and models.
“You have a certain public recognition and whatnot. But it’s not about having your private life literally looked into and stolen from you,” he said. “Becoming an actor shouldn’t mean that you have to deal with being stalked.”
Although he’s fast friends with Lawrence off set, he hasn’t talked to her yet about the photo hack. Because, appropriately enough, he respects her privacy.
“I didn’t really want to bring it up to her, it’s a personal thing that she’s going through, and if she wants to talk to me, she’ll talk to me about it,” he said. “It’s hard. I feel horrible for it all.”
He’s already wrapped shooting on Mockingjay – Part II, set to come out next November, but his final scene as Peeta had no dramatic thunder: it was a simple reshoot to get an angle that hadn’t been covered during principal photography.
“It’s me putting Katniss out when she’s on fire. It was literally a camera looking up at me, I had a blanket and I was throwing it at the camera,” he said with a laugh.
“It was definitely a bittersweet moment, but it was one of things where you finish it, and you’re like, ‘That was it. That was the last moment of all these movies.’ It really was anticlimactic!”
He was there the next night for the wrap of the movie, though. “It was not like of a big bang kind of ending. I think everyone was really sad,” he said. “We’d created something really special together for so many years, and the time to say goodbye was tough.”