Over a decade before 2023’s The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, The Hunger Games movies got their start with the star-crossed District 12 tributes of the 74th games played by Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. When Hutcherson recently reminiscenced on playing Peeta Mellark in the first movie, he shared his experience shooting the camouflage scene and his honest reaction to the character’s special skill.
As Josh Hutcherson stars in one of the first projects on the 2024 movie schedule, The Beekeeper, the actor was asked about what it was like filming that camo scene. In his words:
That moment is kind of ridiculous. We shot that in like the mountains outside of Asheville in North Carolina. There were a ton of snakes and they put me in a rock crevice that just went infinitely back into a dark snake pit. So I had to lay there for 45 minutes while they did this whole makeup thing on the face.
…Well then. That does not sound like the most fun experience, especially if the actor was lowkey worried a snake would get him while he was being fashioned to resemble a rock. Here’s what he looked like in the scene, if its been a while since you’ve seen the first Hunger Games movie:
Hutcherson recalled the memory while doing The Puppy Interview with Buzzfeed. He also said this about his reaction to the whole thing:
I didn’t see what it looked like cause it was on me and I didn’t see a monitor or anything. So, I saw playback after when they were showing me what it looked like and I couldn’t stop laughing because I was like how did he pull this off? Like, with what? They were like ‘He’s a baker’ and I’m like ‘Yeah, cool but like that’s crazy.’ They’re like ‘It works.’ And I’m like ‘Alright, well I’m just an actor, I’ll shut up but you know, it’s kind of crazy.’
Don’t worry Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games fandom thought it was funny, too! That being said, when the prequel cast was promoting The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, there was a surprising amount of Peeta stanning among the actors when they were asked about what weapon of choice they’d opt for. Hunter Schafer was excited about the idea of going “Peeta on’ em,” and Tom Blyth seconded her pick.
While it’s a bit out there when you think about the other tributes having bows and arrows or pickaxes, I always appreciated Suzanne Collins’ showing a little love for the artsy people who were always picked last in P.E. (because same). Plus, realistically, not every tribute needs to use violence in order to win. As Hutcherson points out though, on a practical level, Peeta doing that advanced makeup on himself without a mirror or anything sounds pretty impossible. But hey, it’s a movie. It’s not that serious.
Camouflage discomfort aside, Josh Hutcherson clearly looks back fondly on The Hunger Games franchise. He is still close with J-Law and Liam Hemsworth, and he recently said he’d be “in 100%” on returning to the franchise with the “whole gang” should the opportunity present itself.
Right now, you can check out Hutcherson going back to his bleach blonde hair, this time to play a villain for The Beekeeper, now playing in theaters.