April 19, 2019

The Jew behind ‘The Hunger Games’: Nina Jacobson gets up close and personal [VIDEO]

In 1993, the New York Times described Nina Jacobson as a “baby mogul” who, at 27, had already landed one of Hollywood's top jobs as vice president of production for Universal Pictures. Back then, she was considered “a powerful punker,” as the Times put it, with a penchant for black leather and mutliple piercings. 

Today, she is better known as the prescient mind who optioned Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games and turned it into an international mega-hit film franchise. 

Last June, I had the honor of interviewing Jacobson as part of a recurring salon series hosted by L.A.'s Jewish Federation's Entertainment Division. For about an hour, I got to ask her anything and everything, from the infamous chutzpadik that launched her career (during a job interview, she told producer Joel Silver she heard he was “not a mensch”) to how she perceives her own wielding of power. I also got to ask her what her shadow life would look like (the parallel, but unlived life she might have lived had she not become a film producer), and the answer she gave will surely surprise.

I haven't had a chance to review the tape yet, but if I can, I will add some highlights and soundbites here.

In the meantime, here is an in-depth and intimate conversation with a Hollywood producer who is as smart and thoughtful as she is successful, and as interesting and empathetic as her Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen. 

ps: Introducing Jacobson is Jonathan Littman, president of Jerry Bruckheimer Television and chair of the Federation's Entertainment Division.