‘Future Man’s Josh Hutcherson Says Series Doesn’t ‘Stick to One Brand of Humor’

Future Man - Eliza Coupe, Josh Hutchinson
Erin Simkin/Hulu
Future Man -- Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and Josh Futturman (Josh Hutchinson)

Here’s a slightly embarrassing challenge: Describe the plot of Future Man to your grandma.

The comedy, from executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, stars The Hunger Games’ Josh Hutcherson as 22-year-old Josh Futturman. His job? Cleaning toilets at an STD research lab. His passion? Video games.

When Josh conquers the last level of his current obsession, Biotic Wars, its characters—purple-haired, semi-sadistic Tiger (Eliza Coupe) and gruff, dead-eyed Wolf (Derek Wilson)—show up in the flesh. They’re from the future, where the vaccine for herpes accidentally created a super race that has nearly wiped out mankind. Biotic Wars, it turns out, is actually a battle simulator they’d sent back in time to recruit rebel soldiers.

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As the only person to win the game, Josh has to be their savior, right? So they order him to come with them to 1969, when the head of the lab, Dr. Kronish (Keith David), contracted the STD at a party, inspiring his search for the killer cure. Once there, their options are: A) prevent Kronish from hooking up (Josh’s pick), B) rip off his junk (Tiger’s idea) or C) murder him (Wolf’s choice). They’re not really into details. Hutcherson, however, was kind enough to drop a few clues.

How do you describe Future Man?
That’s been a challenge, because herpes does play a pivotal role. Kronish is trying to get rid of his “hideous blemish,” as he calls it, which has unintended consequences. But the show doesn’t stick to just that brand of humor. There’s slapstick, there are witticisms, there’s dry comedy. One episode is a spoof of a 1980s sitcom.

It also doesn’t depict gamers as jerks who can’t connect with others. Especially women.
That’s what I like about it. It’s hard to have time for romance when you’re going to save the world, but Futturman…he’s a lover. Josh is a very sincere, sensitive guy. And he’s not a loser. He lives with his parents, but he has a job. He’s a guy who’s always been an escapist, and then the thing he uses to escape, video games, becomes very real. But he deals with it.

Was he named Josh before you took the part?
He was, which is super trippy. Being on set was confusing. Usually you’re used to having a name that’s not your own. They’d go, “Action!” then one of the characters would say, “Hey, Josh…” and I’d, as myself, be like, “Hey…wait, I’m sorry, my bad!”

Josh, wearing a moon suit, introduces Kronish’s friends to modern-day dances. Was that really you or a dance double?
Oh yeah, I did my own running man. It’s me dancing up to a certain moment that makes a nod to a famous time-travel movie from the 1980s. I tried the move, or a version of it, but it just did not look cool.

The series has tons of movie references. Did you ever have to admit to not getting one?
Man, it happened all the time! I really like sci-fi. I’ve seen Terminator many times, but there’s Terminator stuff in the show that I didn’t even know existed. That’s the fun: There are references that maybe only eight people will get, but if you’re not one of them, it doesn’t matter.

There is one scene where Josh…ahem…gets down with himself. Was that hard to film or just another day for a working actor?
All I could think was, jeez, my grandma. She watches everything I make. How am I going to explain this to her?

Future Man, Series Premiere, Nov. 14, Hulu