How 2 Kentucky kids made it big in Hollywood

rcopley@herald-leader.comNovember 21, 2013 

Native Kentucky actors Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson preside over one of the biggest film franchises in movie history: The Hunger Games.

[See a timeline of the actors' rise to fame]

With this week's release of the hotly anticipated second installment, Catching Fire, they are the toast of Hollywood. But it was only a few years ago that they were just two suburban kids growing up in Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky's Hutcherson, 21, waded onto the screen first, becoming something of a go-to child actor in the mid-2000s with films including Zathura and Bridge to Terabithia.

Louisvillian Lawrence, 23, started to make her mark later in the decade, first playing the daughter in the TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. But she rocketed to the top of the game, earning critical acclaim and awards for roles in Winter's Bone and Silver Linings Playbook and popular appeal with The Hunger Games.

Lawrence and Hutcherson are involved in other franchises — she is in the X-Men series and he's in the Journey to the Center of the Earth movies — and both try to keep their private lives private, although that can be a challenge when you are young, good-looking and leading one of the biggest movies of the year.

Lawrence reportedly is dating X-Men co-star Nicholas Hoult, and Hutcherson was linked once with Vanessa Hudgens, although he has no current attachments that the paparazzi are aware of.

With both their stars burning bright, it seems like a good time here in their old Kentucky home to look at how they attained their vaunted cinematic status.

Rich Copley: (859) 231-3217. Twitter: @copiousnotes. Blog:

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