As one of the faces of The Hunger Games franchise, Josh Hutcherson could just ride that wave of popularity into untold riches and by-the-numbers movie roles. But that’s not how he wants to play it and you’ve got to respect him for that. The Wrap reports that Hutcherson has signed on to star in and produce Ape, a psychological thriller from first-time writer Jon Johnstone (if his middle name is “Johnny” I will extend the highest of fives).

Although specifics are nil, Ape will follow a man (played by Hutcherson) struggling with both mental illness and a family secret. Directorial reigns on Ape will be handled by Miguel Sapochnik who directed the 2010 science fiction movie Repo Men, a movie that has caught a ton of flack but is still one I enjoy (especially the director’s cut, which isn’t as cut up and awkward), and Atomic Owl Pictures will produce in conjunction with JetLag Productions (Hutcherson’s production company which he co-runs with his mother Michelle).

No word on when Ape will start production, but if you’re needing your Hutch fix before then, the second Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire, hits theaters this November. Hutcherson is also currently shooting the Pablo Escobar drama Paradise Lost which stars Benicio Del Toro (not Vincent Chase) as the legendary drug kingpin.

What do you think of Ape? Did you like Repo Men?

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