Josh Hutcherson’s got a good thing going in Hollywood: along stints with compelling dramatic films (The Kids Are All Right) and a potential blockbuster franchise ahead (The Hunger Games), he’s also got a shot-in-3D sequel to his hit 2008 film Journey to the Center of the Earth. For Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Vanessa Hudgens is at his side (not to mention Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine), and ComingSoon.net joined the young actors in the tropical rainforests of Hawaii to get the scoop on their collaboration.
Q: Is it true that both you’ve been injured on set all ready? Josh Hutcherson: Slightly. Not injured. Hurt, I’d say. Injury I think is a long term thing. We were doing a scene at this place called Eternity Beach which is a beautiful location and there’s this little cave that we kind of go in and check out. We got into the cave and did that scene and cut and coming back out they were like, ‘Watch your heads?’ I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not that tall. I’m not going to hit on anything,’ but I stepped on a little bump, I guess and then I hit the top of my head so hard I fell straight to the ground. I didn’t remember the fall and stuff. I just remember hitting my head and then being on the ground. Then Dwayne was like, ‘Oh, my God, are you okay?’ Vanessa Hudgens: I was a few feet away and heard a massive thump. That’s never a good thing! Then we were shooting a scene down on the same beach and there are just lava rocks everywhere. I was walking backwards. Very smart. Before I knew I was on the floor. I got up and brushed it off like nothing happened and then later on someone pointed at my leg and said, ‘Is that real blood or fake blood?’ Now I have a beautiful scar to show for it. We’ll always remember this movie. It’ll always be a part of me.
Q: Were you guys glad to get into the jungle and do the down and dirty stuff? Hutcherson: Totally. It’s really fun. We’ve been covered in mud now for most of the entire movie, which sounds like fun at the beginning, but then after about day thirty of being in mud it’s like, ‘I’m sort of over it.’ But we’ve been all these beautiful places and it’s usually really nice out. For me, I’m personally a huge fan of rainy weather. So I’m loving this right now.
Q: Do you feel a big sense of responsibility to this film now that you’re sort of the sole one from the original? Hutcherson: Not really. I mean, I’m really proud to be the returning one, but the cast that we have now is such a cool hodgepodge of different cultures coming together with Michael Caine, Dwayne and Luis Guzman, this kind of whole weird, like, ‘What? HE’s in it and HE’s in it?’ So, it’s this cool mix and I’m really proud of it, for sure.
Q: Luis is a great character actor. How is your relationship with him on and off screen and how did you guys work that? Hudgens: Luis is unlike anyone I’ve ever met before. He’s just so funny. He’s always cracking jokes and is always doing improv, which is a lot of fun. He’s just an easy guy to get along with. You talk to him for a few minutes and you can’t help but love him. Hutcherson: He’s so funny. Brad [Peyton], our director will give him some direction and he’s like, ‘I’ll think about it. I don’t know.’ It’s so funny.
Q: This is the second really physical film for you in a row. Did “Sucker Punch” and all the training you did for that get you ready for this? Hudgens: It’s completely different. That was like shooting choreographed with all the fight sequences and firing guns. There’s definitely no guns in this one… Hutcherson: Except for The Rock’s arms. I love calling him “The Rock.” Hudgens: We’re riding bees in this one. So, no, it’s different. This is fun. This is just kind of like “funning” around and having a good time. It doesn’t hurt as much.
Q: Are you leaving behind the singing and dancing? Hudgens: In this one, yes. I mean, with Josh around it’s kind of ridiculous how much we sing on our own time, but definitely not in the movie.
Q: Do you bring a lot of stuff with you since you’re stuck out on set in the jungle? I know you had your dog with you on the first set? Hutcherson: Yeah. I don’t have my dog here because it’s quarantined, but constantly for me, my surfboard and some trunks and that’s all I need here in Hawaii. My suitcase coming here was five board shorts and five T-shirts and just mix and max the entire time. That’s all I wear. I have a house on the beach and it’s really nice everyday to come home from work and go swim in the ocean. I get up early and go for a surf in the morning. So, it’s really nice.
Q: How is the action in this one compared to the action that you did in the first film? Hutcherson: It’s actually oddly kind of similar. Some of the set pieces, or not the set pieces, but throughout “Journey 1” there are similarities to this that kind of parallel each other. Riding the bees is kind of like being on the mine cars and being chased by the dinosaur is like being chased by the lizard. So, there are things that are similar, and so the sets themselves are in a way kind of similar.
Q: How quickly did you adjust to the fact that you’re sharing scenes with Michael Caine? Hudgens: Oh, my God, yeah. Hutcherson: There’s a scene we’ve shot, we finish it today and started shooting it yesterday, and he’s so amazing. Hudgens: Epic. Hutcherson: He comes up and he gets all serious and intense and I’m like, ‘Oh, wow. Sorry.’ Hudgens: I get genuinely distracted by him in scenes. We’ll be having a scene together and I’m watching and I just get so sucked in and I’m like, ‘Oh, snap out of it.’ He’s amazing and I adore him. Hutcherson: We’ve decided that we’re going to ask him to adopt us as grandchildren. Hudgens: We’re just waiting for the right moment. Hutcherson: You have to ease into that one.
Q: How is it working with the new 3D on this one? They said this time it’s a little less obtrusive, more streamlined? Hutcherson: It is. I mean, 3D, definitely, is an amazing technology that’s come so far since the beginning of it, but definitely still has a ways to go, too. I think it’s definitely a work in progress and we’re learning new things everyday. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get set up because sometimes the 3D will go down and you have to figure out how to fix it and it’s all computer stuff. So, they have this genius with computers on set that’s always fixing everything, but it’s amazing technology. The fact that you can actually sit down…and now they have 3D TV’s. So, you can actually watch video playback in 3D, right there through like a TV screen. It’s so cool.
Q: Because of the pressure that shooting in 3D brings, do you feel pressure to make sure that every single take you do you get right so that it’s technically right? Hutcherson: Well, there are times, definitely, where after you do a take and you messed it up and do the next take, they’re like… the camera will go down and they’re like, ‘Oh, God. We should’ve gotten it last time,’ but there’s not that much added pressure, honestly.
Q: Is it cool to have the juxtaposition of having done a film like “The Kids Are All Right” and then to be on a set like this? Hutcherson: Oh, it’s really cool. For me, I like to do all different types of films and to go from having that awesome kind of thing that I love doing so much with great characters and a really great script to a bigger kind of studio film. To just cover the whole kind of spectrum of movies is really, really cool.
Q: Is this one going towards a different type of audience than the first film or will it be for the same audience? Hutcherson: Very similar, a very similar audience. Families with maybe ten, nine year olds and up, I’d say. What’s cool about these movies is that there is some humor in there that I think older people will find funny, too. I think that adults will actually enjoy it as well.
Q: It sounds like they’re trying to bump it forward as you get older, trying to keep up with you and the audience. How does this fit into your game plan, as far as your career, showing off what you can do for your fans? Hudgens: Well, this was just a lot of fun. I mean, Michael Caine, first off, is of course somebody that I want to work with, but I mean I think after the “Sucker Punch” thing, it being a bit more violent, it’s kind of nice to throw something back to the younger audience. Maybe next I’ll do something for the older audience again. It’s nice to bounce around, like he said, and do all sorts of work.
Q: Would you be willing to do a third one of this? Hutcherson: Yeah, we’ll see, if Michael Caine is in it. Q: I got to see a test that was done for Spider-Man. Can you talk about that? Hutcherson: Well, basically, when I heard that they were restarting Spider-Man I was like, ‘Oh, my God, come on. Lets do this.’ So, I went up to my stunt double and one of my really best friends and we went down to the stunt gym where they trained to do the stunts for “300” and “The Matrix” and all of that. We got a bunch of the stunt guys together and said, ‘Lets make a video,’ and then take it to Sony and just be, like, ‘Hey, check it out. See what you guys think.’ So, we did. We kind of put together a little scene and I was just, like, going off on what the old Spider-Man was. There was some action stuff and we were having fun with it and it was a really fun sort of extra thing. It was really cool, a lot of fun.
Q: We heard about your chemistry read together. Can you talk about being “besties” now as you’re doing the scene? Hudgens: “Besties.” I think we’re just very much on the same page. We kind of have the same personalities. We’re free spirits and we’re just kind of here to have fun. Hutcherson: We’re a little crazy. Hudgens: We’re definitely a little crazy. Yeah, we met maybe once or twice before and they just told us to talk, literally to talk and he asked me about a “Scary Movie” and we would then not stop talking. Hutcherson: Yeah, it was great. Hudgens: He’s just a good person.