Everything we know about ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 Movie) – Reveal

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 movie)

A train back to Panem awaits.

The world of The Hunger Games is expanding once again with a big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes — and the tributes have already been lined up. The upcoming film is being directed by Francis Lawrence, who helmed the last three Hunger Games movies. Let’s take stock of everything we know so far about the highly-anticipated prequel, including its plot, players, and premiere date.

What is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes about?

A prelude to the original film series starring Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes tells the story of a teenage Coriolanus Snow before he becomes the authoritarian president of Panem we saw Donald Sutherland portray in the original movies.

The story takes place around the 10th annual Hunger Games. Coriolanus, much to his chagrin, is picked to be a mentor to Lucy Gray Baird, a young female tribute from the impoverished District 12. “But, after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor,” according to a synopsis from the studio. “Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth star as Lucy Gray Baird and young Coriolanus Snow in ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth star as Lucy Gray Baird and young Coriolanus Snow in ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

| Credit: Murray Close/Lionsgate

Who’s directing, writing, and producing?

Francis Lawrence (no relation to Jennifer), who helmed Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1, and Mockingjay Part 2, will return to direct and produce the prequel. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are also returning as producers. Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller will executive produce the film, which features a screenplay by Assassin’s Creed writer Michael Lesslie.

Who’s in theThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cast?

Tom Blyth (Billy the Kid, The Gilded Age) has been cast as the young Coriolanus Snow, in the Hunger Games prequel, while Rachel Zegler (West Side Story, Shazam! Fury of the Gods) will play Lucy Gray Baird. Zegler’s West Side Story costar Josh Andrés Rivera has also been tapped to play Snow’s friend Sejanus Plinth, while Euphoria breakout Hunter Schafer has been cast as Tigris, Coriolanus’ cousin and confidante. A prized Capitol stylist, Tigris was portrayed by Eugenie Bondurant in the original franchise; she is revealed to be Snow’s cousin in the prequel.

Jason Schwartzman will portray Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, host of the 10th annual Hunger Games and ancestor to Caesar Flickerman, portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the original franchise. There will also be a new crop of tributes and mentors, including Jerome Lance as Marcus, a tribute from District 2; Ashley Liao as Clemensia Dovecote, one of Coriolanus’ closest friends and mentor to a tribute from District 11; Knox Gibson as Bobbin, a tribute from District 8; Mackenzie Lansing as Coral, a tribute from District 4; and Aamer Husain as Felix Ravinstill, a mentor to a tribute from District 11.

Viola Davis will play Volumnia Gaul, the villainous head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. A scientist and instructor at the university Snow attends, Volumnia is also the mastermind behind the Capitol’s experimental weapons division. Elsewhere, Peter Dinklage will play Casca Highbottom, the dean of the Academy and unintentional creator of the Hunger Games.

See the actors in character in the posters below.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Hunter Schafer as Tigris

| Credit: Lionsgate

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

Jason Schwartzman as Lucky Flickerman

| Credit: Lionsgate

Other cast additions include Fionnula Flanagan, Scott Folan, Honor Gillies, Burn Gorman, Michael Greco, Daniela Grubert, Isobel Jesper Jones, Eike Onyambu, Carl Spencer, Konstantin Taffet, and Flora Li Thiemann.

When will it debut in theaters?

Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled to hit theaters worldwide on Nov. 17, 2023.

Will there be any returning cast members from the original trilogy?

It’s currently unclear whether any of the original cast members — such as Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, or Willow Shields — will return in some capacity, but it seems unlikely given that Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place more than six decades before the originals.

Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

Donald Sutherland as President Coriolanus Snow in ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

| Credit: Everett Collection

Is there a trailer?

Yes, and it shows Lucy Gray and mentor Coriolanus’ fight for life or death. In it, Lucy Gray makes a spectacle of herself at the reaping, commanding the country’s attention with a defiant song while her mentor decides the best path forward. It also offers a first look at Davis’ sinister head gamemaker and Dinklage’s Academy dean, who takes a swig of some booze that’s reminiscent of Harrelson’s hardened mentor Haymitch Abernathy.

“Katniss was an introvert and a survivor,” the director said. “She was quite quiet and stoic, you could almost say [she was] asexual. Lucy Gray is the opposite. She wears her sexuality on her sleeve, [and] she really is a performer.”

Whereas Katniss was a reluctant face of the rebellion and did not care for the spotlight, Lucy Gray “loves crowds,” Lawrence said. “She knows how to play crowds and manipulate people.”

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 Movie) – Reveal

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023 movie)

This prequel to the blockbuster film series tells the story of a teenage Coriolanus Snow, before he becomes the authoritarian president of Panem.

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