Josh Hutcherson, most recently of The Hunger Games fame, recently gave me some of his time to talk about his new movie, Detention. Detention is a mash-up genre film that features horror, high school comedy, slasher, kung fu, time-travel and pop culture, all artfully rolled into one by director Joseph Kahn.
Josh Stadtner: How was Detention a new or different acting experience for you?
Josh Hutcherson: Well I’ve never read a script nearly as crazy as this. For me, it was about trying to find a way to bring all these different elements together. As an actor, it was important for me to convey the scene in a very solid way even in this high-concept, far-fetched material. I think that was the biggest challenge for me.
JS: Detention is clearly an indefinable film in terms of genre, yet the story still holds together. Why do you think that is?
JH: I think it’s based on the script. I think Joseph Kahn did an amazing job at colliding about 25 different genres into one film, but he made the characters solid enough so you can track along with them as they go through the experience. I think a lot of it was done with the editing. It’s very fast-paced, but still maintains the story and stays true to the way in which it was shot. Joseph did an incredible job finding that balance with making something extremely ADD and fast-paced but still make sense.
JS: When I interviewed Joseph Kahn, he said he wanted to keep the characters as real as possible. As an actor, what were the challenges of keeping a real character whiles having all this crazy stuff happen around you?
JH: It was definitely a challenge at times. You have scenes where you’re jumping into a mascot bear to travel back in time, and you try to make that seem real. For me though, I’m a person that has a pretty wild imagination, but you have to do your best to not feel stupid in that situation. Sometimes you think, “Wow, what am I doing? This is ridiculous!” But you have to go for it and not hold back because once you start holding back or second-guessing yourself, that’s when it starts to look ridiculous.
JS: I think Detention is definitely oriented more towards our generation, and in a way it mirrors our shortened attention spans. As someone who is becoming a star and therefore a representative of our generation, what do think when people say that we’re not as good as others because we can’t focus?
JH: I think it’s a double-edged sword. Our attention span does two things. One, I think we can be a little scatterbrained, but at the same time we can focus on multiple things at once. I think our level of understanding and comprehension is growing as opposed to how it was in the ‘90s and ‘80s and so forth. I think that now more than ever, we’re more kind and compassionate to other people because the world is so small. I think that while there are downsides of it, where you have less human-to-human interaction, at the same time, I think it’s making us more understanding. And smarter. I think that with having Google at your fingertips, you can have the answer to any question you want. And that’s incredible.