We already think Josh Hutcherson did a great job as Peeta Mellark in The Hunger Games, but the kid’s got a lot of work ahead of him still. Catching Fire and Mockingjay are no walk in the park for the baker’s boy. So we’re very glad MTV and Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale took it upon themselves to help him keep his acting chops in shape by targeting him in last night’s episode of Punk’d. Hutch thought he was going out for coffee and lunch with two of his friends, but the friend in the driver’s seat realized their car was being followed and soon they found themselves being interrogated in an LAPD station. Through it all, Josh kept his cool in a way that would make Haymitch proud, even if he may have been freaking out on the inside. Here’s how we think this whole experience can help him enter the arena once more. (Warning: Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read books two and three.)
1. Josh calmly identifies himself to the 911 operator (Lucy Hale), and doesn’t even mention the fact that the mysterious voice coming from a radio in the car has poked fun of his “dirty, one-size-too-small tank top.” Peeta is also used to being under surveillance and knows not to lose his cool in front of the cameras.
2. The “police” ask him to remove his hat and sunglasses, and Josh complies, suddenly realizing that he has no choice. That’s just like how Peeta “agrees” to the victory tour and the staged engagement to Katniss — things he doesn’t necessarily mind but has no choice in anyway.
3. Now that Josh has discovered that he and his friends are being interrogated because they took a marked coffee cup, he’s pretty angry. This is the Peeta who will fight to keep Katniss safe, no matter what. In an interview after the prank, Josh admits that his hands were shaking, despite his bravado — now that’s acting!
4. As they are told to call their lawyers, Josh starts to look worried and a little resigned to his fate. Peeta goes through all kinds of similar emotions, not to mention PTSD, in Mockingjay.
5. “You’ve been Punk’d!” And now, Peeta and Katniss can live happily ever after. Maybe. Anyway, we melt every time we see Josh’s eyes light up with laughter like this. Don’t you?