Nina Jacobson: Feeding ‘Hunger’ for lit adaptations

Youth Impact Report 2012: Bigscreen Chaperones

Nina Jacobson is an unrepentant bookworm. Not only does she love a good read, she owes her career as a producer to the books she and her kids love: Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”

“I’ve been fortunate to have both of these books when my kids were exactly the right age for them,” the mother of three says. “When you have that shared experience with a book or a movie or a television show, where you have something you can share with your family but speaks as much to you as your kids, those moments are few and far between.”

As both a mother and veteran film executive, Jacobson understands the secret to hiring young performers.

“You cast people who you believe can take on those challenges both on and off the screen. With both ‘Wimpy’ and ‘Hunger Games,’ we were fortunate to hire good people with solid families behind them,” she explains.

“Wimpy Kid” is a popular tween franchise, but “The Hunger Games” quickly entered rarefied territory. The first installment in the franchise, directed by Gary Ross, broke records its opening weekend and ultimately surpassed all the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” and “The Lord of the Rings” films at the box office. Domestically, it is the 12th highest-grossing film of all time.

“To see those actors inhabit those roles and to feel like we’d gotten the essence of the characters right was incredibly exciting for me as fan of the books,” she says.

Impact: Jacobson shepherded the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “The Hunger Games” franchises to screen.
Next: Producing “Catching Fire” and the “Mockingjay” two-parter, developing a series at FX and two films at Paramount, “Children of the Lamp” and “Dominion.”
Causes: Heifer Intl., Jewish Federation.

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