The Brown Alumni Magazine (Brown University, Rhode Island) profiles Nina Jacobson, the producer of hit movie, The Hunger Games.
Rebounding from her 2006 firing as boss of the Walt Disney Motion Picture Group, Jacobson ’87 is back in business and holding her breath as producer of The Hunger Games, which opens in late March. Adapted from Suzanne Collins’s best-selling young-adult novel about teenagers who kill each other as part of a reality TV series, the movie is sparking Twilight–level anticipation among tweens.
“It’s exciting but also terrifying because I know how fiercely I feel about this book, and I want to make sure every fan who sees the film goes home feeling satiated,” she says. “I wake up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Am I doing everything I possibly can to make the movie great?’ You sort of never feel like you can exhale again.” Jacobson pauses. “Or it could just be that I’m really neurotic, so there’s that too.”
Jacobson, who has an eleven-year-old daughter and two sons, fourteen and five, packaged the edgy source material as PG-13 fare despite the storyline’s carnage. “This was always going to be a PG-13 movie,” she says. “The Hunger Games does not glamorize violence. In fact, by putting young people in the middle of it, I would argue it actually takes violence much more seriously than a lot of other properties.”
I’ve not seen the movie, and I’m not sure that I will, at least not in the theater (having three young children has brought movie going to a halt in recent years). Nor have I read the books. Which means I’m not in a place to make too many solid judgments of the film. But the recent Catholic World Report review of the movie, by Meryl Amland, sides with Jacobson:
I think this film brings the terror of the loss of innocent human life into shocking relief. Thankfully, the PG-13 rating kept the violence at a reasonable level for young audiences, but the subject matter is very mature. I don’t know if teenagers will fully understand the film’s implications, but I know that parents will. I find it refreshing, however, that some mainstream entertainment seeks to go beyond shallow teenage love stories, and explores the meaning of human value, dignity, and life.
On a lighter note, here is James Bowman of The New Criterion remarking on the film:
Saw last night and didn’t much enjoy The Hunger Games, but the worst thing about it was the thought of how many little girls ten years from now — and how many grown women twenty years from now — we are going to have to address as “Katniss,” the made-up name of the heroine, played by Jennifer Lawrence.
A fair point. Perhaps it might inspire a dark comedy titled, “The Naming Games”.