Born on October 12, 1992, Kentuckian Josh Hutcherson began his career as a child actor at the age of ten and ascended meteorically to the top of his game, transitioning effortlessly within a few short years from television series episodes to telemovies to big-screen voice-over work to live-action parts in Hollywood feature films. Hutcherson's career began when producers of the hit NBC series ER cast him in the "First Snowfall" episode of that program; it aired in late 2002. Hutcherson transitioned to telemovies the following year, as the grandson of Peter Falk, who accompanies the elderly man on a colorful road trip in David Mickey Evans' picaresque yarn Wilder Days (2003).
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Hutcherson debuted on the big screen in 2004, with two back-to-back voice assignments on animated features. He played Markl in the English-language version of Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle (alongside screen vets Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, and others) and a Hero Boy -- one of many -- in Robert Zemeckis' CG-animated holiday picture The Polar Express. That same year, Hutcherson topped these efforts with additional small-screen voice-over work in the episode of the televised animated series Justice League Unlimited entitled "For the Man Who Has Everything."
Hutcherson tackled a three major roles in 2005, beginning that spring with a supporting role as Bucky, the son of dictatorial boys' soccer coach Robert Duvall (and the half-brother of Will Ferrell) in Jesse Dylan's family-oriented sports comedy Kicking & Screaming. Later that same year, Hutcherson tackled his first lead with premier billing in Mark Levin's Wonder Years-style coming-of-age dramedy Little Manhattan; in that film, the actor played Gabe, an 11-year-old boy from the New York upper crust who must contend with a newfound crush on a girl in his class (Charlie Ray), against the backdrop of his parents' tentative split. (That film also marked Hutcherson's first onscreen appearance alongside his younger brother, Connor.) Concurrent with the release of Little Manhattan, Hutcherson received second billing after Jonah Bobo, as Walter, the eldest of two siblings, in Jon Favreau's underrated family-friendly sci-fi thriller Zathura (adapted, like The Polar Express, from a Chris Van Allsburg tale).
Hutcherson's activity decrescendoed the following year, when he limited himself to one role, albeit one with great visibility -- that of young Carl Munro, the son of family patriarch Robin Williams, in Barry Sonnenfeld's nutty road comedy RV In 2007, however, Hutcherson resumed his hectic workload with multiple A-list motion pictures. The first, Bridge to Terabithia, was adapted from Katherine Paterson's popular children's novel; it stars Hutcherson as Jess Aarons, a youngster who befriends classmate Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) and constructs a vivid fantasy world with her that ends in tragedy. Animator Gabor Csupo, of Rugrats fame, directs. In spring of the same year, Hutcherson headlined another picture, Firehouse Dog, directed by Todd Holland. In that film, Hutcherson played an adolescent who teams up with the titular canine to resurrect a dilapidated firehouse. And in the summer 2008 release Journey 3-D (produced under the working title Journey to the Center of the Earth, and a contemporized adaptation of the Verne novel), the young actor portrays the nephew of a geologist played by Brendan Fraser, with whom he discovers a passageway to a "lost" universe at the Earth's core.
Hutcherson would continue to nurture a career in young adult cinema, appearing in the tween-favorite Circue du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant in 2009, and Detention in 2010, before signing on for the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of the successful fantasy-adventure young adult book franchise The Hunger Games in 2012, which became one of the biggest box office successes of that year. That same year he had another hit with the special effects-heavy adventure film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi