Creating the 'Hunger Games' movie

  • Elizabeth Banks (left) and Jennifer Lawrence star in "The Hunger Games." The movie -- based on a series of best-selling novels -- opens in theaters this weekend, but many Baltimore-area shows are already sold out.
Elizabeth Banks (left) and Jennifer Lawrence star in "The… (Murray Close, Lionsgate…)
March 22, 2012|By Dave Rosenthal

Translating a popular book such as "The Hunger Games" into a movie is tough work. (And when there are more than 25 million copies in print, the stakes are even higher.) There's always the real possibility of disaster -- such as the adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune," which is one of my favorite books but also one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

Early reviews of "The Hunger Games" movie have been very promising, and much of the credit goes to producer Nina Jacobson, who also handled adaptations such as "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

In an interview with Publishers Weekly, she described the challenge of moving Suzanne Collins' trilogy from page to screen. Here's an excerpt: “One way to go was to create a softened, diluted version of the book by aging up the characters,” she said. “Instead of being 12 to 18 years old, they’re 16 to 20, or even older. This would make the idea of kids killing kids more palatable.” The alternative approach would have been to glamorize and glorify the story. “In the book the Capitol is the evil central power and the source of the subjugation, and I didn’t want to make a movie that was in essence guilty of the sins of the Capitol. I had to make careful, ethical choices about the adaptation, which was the pitch I made to Suzanne.”

In an interview with Women and Hollywood, she offered thoughts on the violence in the movie: "I'm a mom.  I have a 14-year-old and 11-year-old and a 5-year-old.  I'm very mindful about what they see and read.  I didn't let my 11-year-old read the book until this past summer.  The book is recommended by Scholastic for ages 12 and up and we wanted to make a movie that could be seen by the kids that first discovered the book and made it what it is today.  I think the book and the movie take on very sophisticated themes that kids are savvy about.  They are very much aware of a lot of what they watch in terms of reality TV is more TV than reality.  We made the movie as both film lovers and parents to be responsible and to be ethical.  The book is responsible and ethical and has been embraced by parents and librarians."

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