‘Hunger Games’ Producer: Diversity Goes Beyond Having Gay Superheroes

Nina Jacobson Gay Film Characters
David McNew/Getty Images

Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson is a vocal supporter of gay rights and an advocate for greater diversity in the entertainment industry.

Why has the push for marriage been so important?

Because gay people want the same mundane, boring lives as straight people. How can you espouse so-called family values and then look at two parents who want to raise children in a loving home and say those aren’t family values?

How important have shows like “Modern Family” and “Will & Grace” been?

There is an intimacy to television; these shows let images of gay people into homes. They showed viewers that gay people were sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. They weren’t so exotic.

Why is film falling behind in depictions of gay life?

That will change. Television is often out ahead on social issues. With film, we’ve only recently proved that one of the oldest misconceptions in the book is wrong, which is the idea that girls will see films with boys as protagonists, but boys won’t see movies with girls as protagonists.

We’ve realized that was a patriarchal construct that was being treated as fact. The majority of people are straight, and movies, with their bigger budgets and burdensome marketing costs, will try to appeal to as many people as they can. As the means of production and distribution become more democratized with advances in technology, more gay stories will make their way to the mainstream.

Should there be a gay superhero?

It would be great if it were pertinent to the character, but you should never impose it on a story it wasn’t essential to. If the truest version of that character and the best version or most dramatic version of that story were to include a gay character, I hope we’ve progressed to the point where it would no longer have to be glossed over and made shiny and straight.

The reality is that diversity as an overall subject has to continue to be addressed onscreen. That goes beyond having a gay superhero. There should be a black superhero, a Latino superhero and, while we’re at it, we still aren’t seeing nearly enough women behind the scenes and as the anchors of movies. We owe it to the audience to put more characters onscreen that reflect them, and that speak to issues of race and gender, as well as to a character’s sexual preference.

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