The Hunger Games universe is expanding once again, and fans are eagerly awaiting the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins‘ prequel novel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Directed by Francis Lawrence, who previously helmed the last three Hunger Games movies, this highly-anticipated prequel promises to delve into the origins of the Hunger Games and provide new insights into the character of Coriolanus Snow.
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What is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” serves as a prelude to the original film series, taking us back to a time before the rise of the authoritarian President Snow, portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the original movies. Set against the backdrop of the 10th annual Hunger Games, the story centers on a teenage Coriolanus Snow, who reluctantly becomes a mentor to Lucy Gray Baird, a young female tribute from the poverty-stricken District 12.
Intriguingly, Lucy Gray’s bold defiance during the reaping ceremony captures the attention of all of Panem, offering a glimmer of hope. This sets in motion a thrilling narrative where Snow and Lucy must combine their talents for showmanship and political savvy to outwit the odds stacked against them. As their race against time unfolds, the question arises: who is the songbird, and who is the snake?
Who’s directing, writing, and producing?
Returning to the director’s chair is Francis Lawrence, known for his work on “Catching Fire,” “Mockingjay Part 1,” and “Mockingjay Part 2.” The film’s production team boasts familiar faces, with Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson reprising their roles as producers. Additionally, Suzanne Collins herself, along with Tim Palen and Jim Miller, serves as executive producers. The screenplay for this exciting prequel is crafted by Michael Lesslie, renowned for his work on “Assassin’s Creed.”
Who’s in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” cast?
The cast of this prequel promises a blend of fresh talent and familiar names. Tom Blyth takes on the pivotal role of young Coriolanus Snow, while Rachel Zegler, known for her role in “West Side Story” and “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” portrays Lucy Gray Baird. Joining them is Josh Andrés Rivera, reuniting with Zegler after their collaboration in “West Side Story,” as Snow’s friend Sejanus Plinth.
Euphoria breakout star Hunter Schafer steps into the role of Tigris, Coriolanus’ cousin and confidante, who plays a crucial role in his life. The character Tigris was previously portrayed by Eugenie Bondurant in the original franchise, and the prequel reveals her as Snow’s cousin.
Jason Schwartzman assumes the role of Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, the host of the 10th annual Hunger Games and an ancestor to Caesar Flickerman, portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the original series. The film also introduces a fresh set of tributes and mentors, adding depth to the narrative.
Viola Davis, a seasoned actress of both stage and screen, brings her talent to the role of Volumnia Gaul, the villainous head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. Volumnia’s character serves as the mastermind behind the Capitol’s experimental weapons division. Meanwhile, the accomplished Peter Dinklage embodies Casca Highbottom, the dean of the Academy and the unintentional creator of the Hunger Games.
See the actors in character in the posters below
When will it debut in theaters?
Mark your calendars; “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is scheduled for a worldwide theatrical release on November 17, 2023.
Will there be any returning cast members from the original trilogy?
While the return of original cast members like Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, or Willow Shields remains uncertain, it’s important to note that “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is set more than six decades before the events of the original trilogy, making their involvement unlikely.
Is there a trailer?
Indeed, there is a trailer that offers a tantalizing glimpse into the world of the prequel. The trailer captures Lucy Gray’s daring performance during the reaping ceremony, which seizes the nation’s attention. As Lucy Gray commands the spotlight, Coriolanus Snow must make critical decisions to ensure their survival. Additionally, viewers get their first look at Viola Davis‘ sinister head gamemaker and Peter Dinklage‘s Academy dean, whose actions bear intriguing similarities to their original counterparts.
In a conversation with Empire magazine, director Francis Lawrence provides insight into Lucy Gray’s character, describing her as the “anti-Katniss.” Unlike Katniss Everdeen, who was reserved and stoic, Lucy Gray is a performer who embraces the spotlight and understands the art of manipulating crowds and people.
With a rich cast of characters and a storyline that promises to captivate both Hunger Games enthusiasts and newcomers, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is poised to be a cinematic event of 2023. Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey back to the origins of Panem and witness the rise of one of its most iconic figures, Coriolanus Snow.