Jim Jacks

Producer, Executive, Stock analyst
James Jacks left a career as a Wall Street stock analyst to try his hand at screenwriting. When that did not pan out, he turned to a career first as a successful studio executive at Universal and later as an independent ... Read more »
Born: 11/29/1947

Filmography

Producer (23)

That's What I'm Talking About 2015 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor 2008 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior 2007 (Movie)

(Producer)

Dark Blue 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

Intolerable Cruelty 2003 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Hunted 2003 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Scorpion King 2002 (Movie)

(Producer)

Attila 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Down to Earth 2001 (Movie)

(Producer)

Rat Race 2001 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Mummy Returns 2001 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Gift 2000 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Mummy 1999 (Movie)

(Producer)

A Simple Plan 1998 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Jackal 1997 (Movie)

(Producer)

Don't Look Back 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Michael 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Mallrats 1995 (Movie)

(Producer)

Dazed and Confused 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Hard Target 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Heart and Souls 1993 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Tombstone 1993 (Movie)

(Producer)

Raising Arizona 1987 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Biography

James Jacks left a career as a Wall Street stock analyst to try his hand at screenwriting. When that did not pan out, he turned to a career first as a successful studio executive at Universal and later as an independent producer with Alphaville Productions, formed with Sean Daniel. The producing pair delivered such box office hits as the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle "Hard Target" (1993) and the John Travolta fantasy "Michael" (1996), as well as critically-acclaimed indie fare like Richard Linklater's 1970s high school period piece "Dazed and Confused" (1993). Although the international blockbuster "The Mummy" (1999) was Jacks' biggest financial success, he continued producing films up until his 2014 death.

Although he had several screenplays optioned, Jacks really became immersed in show business when he became head of production for the Washington, DC-based Circle Films in the mid-1980s. During his tenure, he supervised the distribution of Ethan and Joel Coen's "Blood Simple" (1984) and served as executive producer of the Coens' "Raising Arizona" (1987). Jacks subsequently migrated to Hollywood to become vice-president of acquisition at Universal Pictures, eventually rising through the ranks to senior vice-president of production. While at Universal, he supervised such features as Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" (1989) and the Oscar-nominated "Field of Dreams" (1990), working directly for production chief Sean Daniel. Jacks left Universal in 1992 and formed Alphaville with Daniel. Their first success was "Hard Target" followed by the critically-applauded "Dazed and Confused" (1993), directed by Richard Linklater. Alphaville had a surprise success with "Tombstone" (1993) before stumbling in 1995 with John Carpenter's unnecessary remake of "Village of the Damned" (which Jacks and Daniel co-executive produced) and Kevin Smith's disastrous sophomore effort "Mallrats".

Jacks and Daniel often found themselves with films that either earned a healthy box-office or garnered critical acclaim, but rarely both. That changed with Nora Ephron's "Michael", featuring John Travolta as a boozing, skirt-chasing angel. Rousing reviews and packed houses gave the duo the combined hit for which they had been waiting. Their 1997 follow-up was "The Jackal", with Bruce Willis as a paid killer and they have numerous projects in various stages of development. The producers also oversaw the thriller "Don't Look Back" (HBO, 1996) which was scripted by Tom Epperson and Oscar-winner Billy Bob Thornton. Thornton also starred in their next film, the Sam Raimi-directed thriller "A Simple Plan" (1998).

The international blockbuster "The Mummy" (1999) proved to be Jacks' biggest success as a producer, and set up both sequels and a successful spin-off starring Dwayne Johnson, "The Scorpion King" (2002). Jacks also continued working in comedy, including Chris Rock's loose remake of "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Down To Earth" (2001), Jerry Zucker's zany chase comedy "Rat Race" (2001), and a reunion with the Coen Brothers with their stylish romantic comedy "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003). Jacks died of a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 66.

EDUCATION

Carnegie-Mellon University

Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania

Cornell University

Ithaca , New York

Milestones

1996

Scored box-office smash with "Michael", produced with Daniel

1996

Executive produced HBO TV-movie "Don't Look Back"

1993

With Daniel, produced "Hard Target"

1992

Formed Alphaville Productions with Daniel

1987

Executive produced, "Raising Arizona"

Joined Universal as vice-president, acquisitions; later promoted to senior vice-president, production; served under production chief Sean Daniel

Left job as Wall Street analyst to try hand at screenwriting; had several scripts optioned but none produced

Worked for Circle Films as head of production

Bonus Trivia

.

"I can agree that every one of our movies has stuff in there that if we were the sole person making the movie, it wouldn't be there." --James Jacks in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Craft Series, 1994.

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