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Josh Hutcherson's acting future looks very bright

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Josh Hutcherson has been on a real roll lately with his films, and it's not just because of the recent box-office success of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," the sequel to the much-lauded "The Hunger Games." He also provided one of the voices for "Epic," an animated film that features the voices of Amanda Seyfried and singing sensation Beyoncé Knowles as well. In addition to these career triumphs, he has several more movies lined up. Indeed, Hutcherson seems to be taking advantage of new newfound stardom, signing up for significant parts and key roles in several high-profile projects.

Before Hutcherson can begin his post-Peeta Mellark career, he has to actually finish playing Peeta in the two films based on the final novel in the trilogy, "Mockingjay." Originally, only three movies were planned, one for each of the books in author Suzanne Collins' much-beloved trilogy. Then in July 2012, Lionsgate, which won the bidding war to adapt Collins' tomes, announced that the final book would be split in two. This means Hutcherson will definitely be busy finishing out Peeta's embattled storyline for the near future, since both films are currently shooting back-to-back. He did get a break to go on the world premiere tour for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," but the cast and crew will be tied up with the next two films for the foreseeable future. Considering that one is set to be released in November 2014, time is of the essence considering the huge amount of post-production work required.

Once Hutcherson says goodbye to Peeta, he'll still have plenty of work to fill his time. He is set to star in "Paradise Lost," a film co-starring Benicio del Toro. The film centers on a man who takes a surfing trip to Colombia, where he quickly falls in love with a local girl. Like most movies, there is a twist that may keep the young lovers apart, and in "Paradise Lost," it's a doozy. It turns out the girl's uncle is Pablo Escobar, the notorious drug kingpin from the 1980s who evaded capture by police for years. It's one thing for a relative of the person you love to be intimidating, but when he's the world's largest cocaine distributor, intimidating probably isn't the word for how Hutcherson's character feels. The film has already finished shooting, and it is set for release sometime in 2014.

The other big project in Hutcherson's future is the film "Journey 3: From the Earth to the Moon," which will co-star Dwayne Johnson, who some may know as former wrestler The Rock. According to the film's IMDb page, only Hutcherson and Johnson are cast so far, and the status of the production is "script." This means the script from Brian and Mark Gunn is still being written. Though the IMDb page doesn't have any actual plot details or a filming start date, some information can be gleaned about the project.

It is the third film in the series that began with 2008's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and 2012's "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island." The franchise is based on the work of Jules Verne, a legend in the sci-fi community. The film's producers hope to get the rest of the cast back from the first two films in addition to Hutcherson and Johnson, but nothing has been set in stone. That is why no filming or release dates have been set. Hollywood is notorious for setting up a film to begin shooting, only to have the whole thing unravel just days before principal photography is supposed to start. With Hutcherson and Johnson getting big recent boosts to their careers, the chances of scheduling and availability causing a production delay are good.

So far, these four films are keeping Hutcherson's plate very full. Like so many things in the movie industry, this could all change at any moment, with projects being added and subtracted from his schedule. One thing is for sure, though—with his All-American good looks, charm, and acting skills, Hutcherson definitely won't have any trouble finding new projects to work on in the future. He may always be remembered as Peeta, but he will likely have a nice long résumé full of featured or lead roles to accompany the "The Hunger Games" films.

Watch Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence talk hair and 'Hunger Games'


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