Josh Hutcherson and Shanley Caswell Talk 'Detention', Social Media and 'An Honest Portrayal of High School' (Video)
The "Hunger Games" star and his current leading lady discuss the horror film's take on teenagers, "staying connected" and saying failed '90s catchphrases like "gotta Fled."
With The Polar Express, Zathura, Bridge to Terabithia, and The Kids Are All Right under his belt, Josh Hutcherson carried an impressive critical pedigree long before The Hunger Games made him a commercial star. But the young actor is testing his newfound box office clout for the first time this week with the release of Detention, Joseph Kahn’s overdue follow-up to Torque. In the teen horror movie, Hutcherson plays the most popular kid at a high school whose pop culture-addicted population is under siege from an axe-wielding serial killer.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Hutcherson and his co-star Shanley Caswell about the film earlier this week. Funnily enough, for a film in which the characters make a point of talking to one another via text, Twitter and other electronic forms of communication, neither actor is particularly well-versed in social media. “I don’t tweet, I don’t Facebook, I don’t live in that kind of high-tech world,” Hutcherson said. “[But] you know what everyone is doing all of the time – and this movie definitely captures that.” (Hutcherson actually does have a Twitter account, @jhutch1992, but he uses it infrequently.)
Caswell added, “I’m in college now, and a college student is always moving and always doing stuff on their phone. That’s what their lives are.”
Kahn’s previous effort, the much-maligned motorcycle movie Torque, also featured a deluge of pop culture references filtered through the filmmaker’s delightfully ADD visual sensibility. Hutcherson suggested that Kahn’s approach was not only appropriate for the content of the film, but well-suited to its potential audience as well. "I've never really seen a more honest portrayal of what high schools are like in modern times,” he said. “I feel like sometimes I read a script and it's written by some fifty year old guy in his basement and he is trying to sound like a teenager and it never works. With Joseph's writing, he really knows what young people are like in today's day and age. And it really came through in the story, I felt."
Watch the video below, in which THR's interviewer shows his age by actually knowing the movie Hutcherson references when he says "gotta Fled." Detention opens in limited release Friday, April 13 via Samuel Goldwyn.