Finally an antidote to the virginal vanilla vampire tales like Twilight. It might be surprising that Hunger Games is going uberblockbuster and is tipped to outgross Harry Potter. But it’s no surprise that Hunger Games shows powerful women.
The Hunger Games has a strong female writer, producer and cast. First, author Suzanne Collins, as a military child and theater major, has the background to craft both the details and emotions of this post reality show book. She’s also spent years honing her craft, as a working writer. We’re perhaps fortunate that she also adapted her book for screen instead of the project passing through too many hands and becoming diluted.
I enjoyed the books of the Hunger Games series as much as the rest of my family did. We’re such a mixed bunch of genders, ages and personalities that it’s rare to find a book or movie that speaks to us all. [cough Harry Potter] The Hunger Games film cut straight to the emotional bone, avoiding the more meandering path of the book but still showing the pure strength of character Katniss.
Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, is a perfect pick. Her performance as an Ozark Mountain girl searching for her crank-cooking father in 2010’s “Winter’s Bone” received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. “A Jennifer Lawrence only comes along once in a generation,” producer Jon Kilik said. “She was our first choice right from the beginning.” [Burlington Free Press]
But would this be a blockbuster without visionary producer Nina Jacobsen? Jacobsen has been a film executive for a long time, working at several large studios including Disney.
In 1998, she moved to Disney where she was responsible for developing scripts and overseeing film production for Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures and Hollywood Pictures. Among her projects as studio executive were The Sixth Sense, Remember the Titans, Pearl Harbor, The Princess Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. For her efforts at helping expand the role of women in the entertainment industry, Women in Film awarded her the Crystal Award in 2003. In 2005, Forbes Magazine named Jacobson one of the “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” in acknowledgement of her success. [wikipedia]
It doesn’t end happily there of course. The road to success for women does not run straight. Jacobsen has been an advocate for gay and lesbian rights. She’s also parent to three children with her female partner. It was during the birth of her third child that Jacobsen was fired from Disney in a reshuffle. She seems to have taken her departure in stride, saying only that her time at Disney was good while it lasted.
Her close creative partner, director M. Night Shyamalan, was far less restrained. After six years of successful collaboration at Disney, the bond between director and producer had eroded to the point where Shyamalan crucified Jacobsen in his book “The Man Who Heard Voices”. Shyamalan repudiated Jacobsen’s script criticisms with claims that he “had witnessed the decay of her creative vision right before his own wide-open eyes. She didn’t want iconoclastic directors. She wanted directors who made money.”
So, round about now Jacobsen is fired, starts her own company and picks up two of the biggest creeping blockbusters around, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Hunger Games” while they were relative unknowns. I’d say someone’s creative vision was 20/20.
The winner is woman warriors everywhere.