Hulu’s new sci-fi comedy series Future Man stars Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games franchise) as a janitor named Josh who’s an expert gamer. Josh’s video game skills earn him the job of preventing the extinction of mankind, and his mission to save the world involves jumping to different time periods. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg direct and executive produce the series which was created by writers Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. Future Man is set to debut on November 14, 2017.
Hutcherson was among the Future Man cast that made the trek to the 2017 San Diego Comic Con to promote the half-hour series. In addition to taking part in a panel, Hutcherson sat down for roundtable interviews to delve into what viewers can expect when they tune in to check out Hulu’s Future Man.
What are you excited for the viewers to see in Future Man?
Josh Hutcherson: “Honestly, just the journey that we go on is so nuts. And one moment you’ll think, ‘That’s a weird joke,’ and that becomes an entire plot point. So, just kind of the ridiculous vibe of it. What’s crazy about the show is it walks such a line of genres and of tones. We have real life or death situations where people are very serious about saving the world. It’s like the fate of humanity is on the line, while you’re also doing something absurd involving dead possums … or maybe not.”
It goes off on funny tangents?
Josh Hutcherson: “Exactly. The roundabout way that we end up trying to save the world is the funny journey that we go on.”
You play a gamer so does the show explore a broad range of video game styles or include lots of video game references?
Josh Hutcherson: “As far as references and kind of what it pays homage to, it’s more in the world of sci-fi films especially the ‘80s stuff. A lot of Back to the Future, Terminator, Last Starfighter, Quantum Leap, a lot of stuff in that world. But the video game element, Josh is a hardcore gamer so the game world that we live within is a game we created for the show which is Biotic Wars. So, most references and stuff, we live within that world and don’t break out of that too much.”
How much of a gamer are you?
Josh Hutcherson: “I’m not a huge gamer. I used to have internet in my house and it stopped working two years ago and I still can’t get it to work. It’s the bane of my existence. It’s a trigger for me to get very angry. So, I can’t play video games online or stream anything.”
Of all the different time periods your character goes to, which is the biggest surprise for your character?
Josh Hutcherson: “The ‘80s. What happens during that time is a real mindf*ck for him. It gets dark; it gets crazy. He’s at his wit’s end. It’s crazy.”
Did you get nostalgic for all the different eras you go through?
Josh Hutcherson: “Oh, yeah. It’s awesome. Our sets and wardrobes and the worlds that they create in each of these eras is so spot-on, it’s amazing. You really feel like it seems you’re going to a house party in the 1980s. I wasn’t alive then, but from what I imagine it feels like the ‘80s.”
Is this first season a self-contained story or does it lead into a second story?
Josh Hutcherson: “It has a full arc. It’s not a, ‘Oh! What happens?’ But there’s a lot of places (it could go). That’s what’s fun about the show. We’re not beholden to any material. We have complete freedom to go anywhere with it. So knock on wood for the second, third, fourth, fifth, six seasons, however many seasons there could be, you can take it so many directions. But, yeah, it is a contained story with a very strong possibility of further (seasons).”
We know you go to the ‘40s, ‘60s, and ‘80s. Is there anywhere else you go that you can talk about?
Josh Hutcherson: “Not really. We go to the future a little bit. We dabble in the future some, not a whole lot. That pretty much covers the run for this first season.”
How does this future compare to the one Peeta was in in The Hunger Games?
Josh Hutcherson: “Well, they’re dystopic and both have evil governing forces. So, I see a theme here with where our general sentiment is for the direction that we’re heading as a whole.”
Was there anything you found challenging about the show’s comedic elements?
Josh Hutcherson: “I mean the thing is this show really pushed its every corner of comedy. We have some very high-brow, satirical type stuff social commentary which was fun and witty and great. The physical slapstick-y type stuff, we had like ‘80s comedy references type episodes where the whole episode is like a farce kind of and that was really fun to play. None of it was really too difficult to pull off. Per se it was comedy, just because it was comedy but it was real for us in the characters. We’re not making jokes. We’re living this as a real situation. It was just great writing and the dynamic between the characters that makes it funny.”
What do you think is your character’s best trait?
Josh Hutcherson: “I think his greatest trait is probably his empathy. He’s a super empathetic and caring guy, and he’s trying to be a part of this team – this ruthless, killing team – to save the future without killing anybody and without causing too much damage to people in the world. And in a weird way that empathy is what they’ve lost in their future, and so bringing that in fills a hole. It’s like we demonize each other so much, whatever wars we’re fighting, and they come from a future that is the most extreme version of that, where they’ve lost all sense of humanity. Josh brings a lot of humanity to the mission and that ends up being the saving grace that allows them to get to where they need to be.”
Was it fun to show off your dance moves in the series?
Josh Hutcherson: “Yes. It was really fun. Love dancing. Big fan of it. I enjoy it thoroughly, and I got to really do some crazy dancing in this show. And actually what you see, there’s a lot more that we shot.”
For those who haven’t seen the pilot, are you doing a dance-off to save the world?
Josh Hutcherson: (Laughing) “You’re not that far off. I’m in a moon suit from the 1960s and in order to save all mankind I must basically win a form of a dance battle, more or less. It’s complicated.”
Are those moves all yours in the moon suit?
Josh Hutcherson: “Except for one moment…the Marty McFly moon walk. That’s not me. That’s the only thing I couldn’t do.”
Watch the full Josh Hutcherson Future Man interview:
(Interview by Fred Topel. Article by Rebecca Murray.)