Tag Archives: Nina Jacobson

Hunger Games Producers Talk Battle Royale Debate

With the release of The Hunger Games just around the corner, the comparisons to the Japanese film Battle Royale are rampant, even we did one here. So in the spirit of debate, the producers of The Hunger Games talked about the two films.

The Hunger Games is the movie adaptation of the bestselling novel by Suzanne Collins. It is followed by the sequels Catching Fire and Mockingjay. 

The plot for the film is as follows:

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the governing body, the Capitol, of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Katniss Everdeen volunteers as a tribute to save her sister from going in to the ghastly arena. She is joined by Peeta Mellark, a boy she knew who once saved her life.

Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル Batoru rouaiaru) is a 2000 Japanese thriller film directed by Kinji Fukasaku based on the novel of the same name. It was written by Kenta Fukasaku and stars Takeshi Kitano.

The film tells the story of a class of teenagers that are forced by the government to compete in a deadly game, where the students must kill each other in order to win. The program is used to intimidate youths from participating in gangs and rebellions. It takes place in the not so distant future/alternate timeline of Japan where unemployment is rampant and most of the country is in disarray. 

The Hunger Games, producer Nina Jacobson talked about the continuing debate over the similarities between the two stories during a press event.

You know I think that they are distinct pieces of material. I know for Suzanne what her inspiration was and her inspiration was the Iraq war along side American Idol, that she was watching both. And experiencing both with her children. And so I know thats where her inspiration came from. […] We are all sharing the same kind of cultural touch points, all going through history together. So it doesn’t surprise me that sometimes they will be points where different source material intersects with eachother.

She goes on to say,

“The fact that people are engaged in talking about the book and the movie is a good thing. And I think the movie certainly stands on its own separate from [Battle Royale] I think it is very much its own property. The book and the movie together, so I don’t think it hurts to be debated.

Director Gary Ross explained that he chose to distance himself from the discussion by focusing only on his film.

I haven’t seen Battle Royale. […] I had never heard of it until I got this job and then when I heard of it, I intentionally stayed away from it. I never wanted to be influenced by it, and I also wanted to be able to say, ‘Look, I’ve never seen this film’ So I made my own film independently. And I suppose I’ll see it now. But I intentionally never wanted to see it or be exposed to it for those exact reasons.

Having read HG and watched BR, I really think the two are only vaguely similar. They have one tiny premise that is similar while the rest is completely different. I liked HG in a completely different way than I liked BR because they are so inherently different.

But I liked that Ross and Jacobson took the time to address the debate that is still going on.

The Hunger Games hits theaters on March 23.

What You Won’t See In The Hunger Games Movie

In case you are one of the fans that is worrying about the new adaptation of The Hunger Games, I can tell you now, that you can stop fretting! Entertainment Weekly recently revealed the four aspects that fans won’t see in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games. I am happy to say that the four things are not to major for me to be disappointed.

Thankfully, we at least get a little bit of an explanation of why each scene was changed. Gary Ross and producer, Nina Jacobson took the time to explain each one.

Madge Undersee

If you have read the novel, you know that Madge was a pseudo-friend of Katniss and also the daughter of the mayor of District 12. In the novel, she is the one who gives Katniss the mockingjay pin before she is taken to the Capitol. However, in the preview for the film we saw that Katniss gives the pin to Prim, and Madge is not mentioned at all.

On the change, Jacobson says,

“you have so little time to establish these characters. So if Madge has to get thrown under the bus so you can make sure that an audience who hasn’t read the books understands the devotion between Katniss and Prim, then that’s what you do.”

The Avoxes

In the novel, we meet the Avoxes when Katniss described seeing a girl taken by the Capitol, only to show up again as her servant before the games. It is not a major plot point, but it was definitely a darker part of Capitol. While they are in the film, they are not explained or given much of a back story.

Ross says, regarding the change,

 “we have Avoxes, but we don’t digress in the film. I think it’s a wonderful way to populate the world, but there are just certain [cutbacks] that have to happen.”

The Prep Team

Katniss’ prep team while in the Capitol includes, Octavia, Flavius, and Venia. Don’t fret, they are in the film, but unlike the novel, the audience doesn’t get the chance to know them. The only one the movie focuses on is Cinna, especially because of his role as confidant to Katniss.

Jacobson explains,

“we agreed that the main thing is to establish Cinna. So we had to sort of borrow from Peter to pay Paul!”

Capitol Awesomeness

If you remember the book, the Capitol has all kinds of sweet gadgets and awesome things that no one else in the other Districts have. An examples is the food automators. While these won’t be shown, the Capitol will still retain its ominous presence.

Jacobson explained the subtraction,

 “we didn’t want the Capitol to appear too fanciful. It has to appear ominous and threatening. The Capitol has to be a mind-blowing experience, but it can’t be Whoville.”

So it seems that the film adaptation will be pretty faithful to the novel. If these are the only changes we have to worry about, I will be pretty satisfied with how it turns out. Although, I would have liked to see Madge, I am ok with that change still because I have the feeling this is going to be a great adaptation.

I mean after all, author Suzanne Collins, has praised the film version herself. 

Source: Entertainment Weekly new issue