In a new interview with Film Ink, Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson talked about the end of the franchise, Jennifer Lawrence, women as directors and more.
Nina Jacobson was named one of Forbes most “100 Powerful Women” in 2005, and that was before the savvy producer had even broken out on her own and helped launch a franchise known as The Hunger Games. Jacobson began her career with brief stints at Universal Pictures and Dreamworks before she moved to Walt Disney in 1988 where she worked as studio executive on such blockbuster works as the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, Remember the Titans and the first Chronicles of Narnia film. However, in 2006, Jacobson was one of the causalities in a restructuring at Disney and she was let go from the company. Her termination at Disney, however, pushed Jacobson to start her own production company, Color Force, in 2007. The company secured the rights to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, which proved a hit franchise. But the next series of novels she would acquire would do ever better. They were The Hunger Games, and with the series coming to an end in November, Jacobson reflected on production, and talked female protagonists and directors and the push for change.
It’s a good investment that you made…
It turned out ok!
What sparked this for you?
I just found that it was a book where once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It just felt really powerful, really relevant. And I thought that it managed to be provocative and to talk about violence, entertainment, and the gap between the 1% and the 99%, but to do it all through the prism of a character who you felt deeply for. It just felt like something you had never seen before, and something that I wanted to see on screen, and a character that was unforgettable.
In what ways have you seen Jennifer, Liam and Josh change over the course of filming?
I think the most heartening thing has been to see how close they have become with each other. Often times fame divides people and makes people individuate or be competitive with each other. They never turned that way. They became a family, they became incredibly close, they grew up together. Other people of that age are going to college, and they instead had this experience. Certainly their freedom of movement has been impacted, but they have had a good role model in someone like Woody. Everywhere you go people recognise him, and he’s really gracious about it, and really appreciative. It’s not like you appreciate it when people bother you at dinner, but appreciate that success of that kind is nothing to be taken for granted. They all come from good families, of people who have their head on straight, and are surrounded by good people and not yes people.
In terms of franchises and offshoots, is there another life for any of this Hunger Games mania?
I don’t know. Right now it’s hard for me to picture that. Right now it feels complete. If Suzanne Collins has an inspiration I’d be psyched, but at this point I don’t know how to do that.
In your career, you’ve gone through so many incarnations. Would you ever want to step back into the studio reigns again or do you like the independence you have now?
At this point, I love the feeling of being one of the people who makes the thing. That you really feel a sense of connection and being on the team, and being the advocate. At this point it’s hard for me to imagine going back. I loved being an executive and never thought I’d want to be a producer, and now I love being a producer and it’s hard to imagine putting the suit back on. But never say never.
In terms of having female characters as protagonists, and proving that can be successful, how important was The Hunger Games?
I think The Hunger Games is part of a larger story, that thankfully has included some other big titles that have shown it not to be an anomaly. Whether it’s Frozen, Inside Out, Bridesmaids, Spy, The Heat… there are so many great, entertaining and successful films that have been made and driven by great actresses. Something like the latest Ghostbusters is something that you wouldn’t have imagined happening five or ten years ago, and now it makes perfect sense. It’s part of a larger story in which some of these strides are being made, and the obvious is becoming apparent – which is that as 50% of the population, and with probably more than 50% of consumer decisions being made by women, we should also be able to star and drive commercially successful films. I think it has been happening for a long time, but people just keep not getting the point. Something like Titanic was driven by Kate Winslet and by female audiences who saw it again and again and again. And people still need to be reminded about the obvious. Hello!
Read the entire interview HERE