Film Forward

'Hunger Games' Producer Calls 'Bulls—t' On Hollywood's Excuses For Lack Of Diversity

"These things were all taught to me as though they were truths and they are all just biases. Bias, and it’s bulls—t."

The lack of diversity in Hollywood — how to improve it as well as why it isn't changing fast enough — is something that has been discussed time and time again. Now, one exec is speaking quite frankly about it. Nina Jacobson, a producer for the Hunger Games franchise, explains that the reasons why the needle hasn't moved much and the deeper problem plaguing the industry.

"For me, [projects are] especially meaningful if it feels like it would inspire other people," Jacobson told said at The Wrap's annual conference on media and technology yesterday. "I do think a lot of something like Crazy Rich Asians about the young person who has never seen a person that looks like them on a big poster like that or on the big screen."

As we have learned, representation matters whether you're talking about little girls seeing themselves in films like Ghostbusters or Wonder Woman, non-White people seeing themselves in movies like Star Wars or on TV shows like Black-ish, or LGBTQ people seeing themselves in front of and behind the camera on TV programs like Take My Wife.

"Or with Hunger Games, for girls to see somebody they really admire, but who guys admire just as much, and to break through some of the really … honestly just bulls—t prejudice which is disguised as conventional wisdom when it's just bias," Jacobson continued.

Some of these instances, as Jacobson pointed out, are when people say things like "black movies don't travel" or "girls will identify with a male protagonist but boys won't identify with a female protagonist." To these claims, Jacobson has a very pointed and direct response: "These things were all taught to me as though they were truths and they are all just biases. Bias, and it's bulls—t."

The producer — who has also helped put out movies like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and TV shows like American Crime Story — said what is happening in Hollywood, and what has been happening for a long time, is a quest to satisfy their intended audience: young White men.

"The relentless sort of chasing of the young white male as like the holy grail when, by the way, you'll never find a more distracted group of people who have more options for entertainment than the young male," Jacobson added. "What with sports, video games, porn — they're busy! They've got a lot to do."

To illustrate that diversity is something that actually pays off in the end as opposed to hurting the film, Jacobson called out movies like Hidden Figures that proved to really resonate with audiences and that blew box office expectations out of the water.

Cover image via Lionsgate

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