JIM WHITAKER (Executive Producer) is the president of motion picture production at Imagine Entertainment. He recently executive produced American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; Friday Night Lights, starring Billy Bob Thornton; and Flight Plan, starring Jodie Foster. He also co-executive produced Ron Howard’s film Cinderella Man, starring Academy Award® winners Russell Crowe and Renée Zellweger. He is also the founder and director of Project Rebirth, a nonprofit organization that is chronicling the reconstruction of Ground Zero along with the healing process of 10 people affected by September 11.
Whitaker’s passion for filmmaking first emerged during his undergraduate years at Georgetown. In 1987, he went to work in Baltimore doing craft services on John Waters’ cult hit, Hairspray. In 1988, he served as an intern at the local NBC affiliate and traveled to the Democratic and Republican conventions, working as a stringer for Katie Couric, a local reporter at the time. In 1989 and 1990, he directed several films to raise money for nonprofit organizations including Best Buddies and Rebuilding Together.
Upon graduation, Whitaker joined the independent production company Hillman & Carr, where he edited documentaries for museums. He also conceived, rose financing for and directed an award-winning public service announcement against drunk driving. In 1991, Whitaker moved to Los Angeles where he entered the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California, earning a master’s degree in fine arts.
During his graduate studies, Whitaker accepted an internship position at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment. Upon graduation from USC, he was awarded a full-time position as a creative associate with the company. Whitaker rose through the ranks to become president of motion picture production, supervising the development and production of several major motion pictures including 8 Mile; Nutty Professor II: The Klumps; Life; Flight Plan; and Curious George. He is currently in preproduction on Nottingham, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. Born the youngest of five boys in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1968, Whitaker spent his early years in the Washington, D.C. area before moving to the small town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He returned to Washington, D.C., for his senior year of high school and graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1986. Whitaker graduated from Georgetown University with honors in 1990 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics.
Whitaker currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Chris, daughter, Rebecca and son, Emmett.