Vanity Fair has released an exclusive first look at the upcoming The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakesshowing Lucy Gray Baird (West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler) and Coriolanus Snow (English actor Tom Blyth) holding hands and gazing wistfully at the sky.
The upcoming prequel tells the story of Panem’s diabolical President Snow, 64 years before the events of the first The Hunger Games novel. Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow is an ambitious high school student, assigned as a mentor to a tribute in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Living in poor conditions in a post-Dark Days Capitol, Snow is determined to restore the glory of his family name through his success in the games—but is thrown for a loop when he meets his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird from the impoverished District 12.
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“This is very much a story about love,” director Francis Lawrence told Vanity Fair. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes marks his return to the Hunger Games universe; Lawrence directed the final three films in the original series. “It’s this kind of love story set in a different kind of a world in a different time.”
Described by Lawrence as “the anti-Katniss,” Lucy Gray is a musician, performer, and a charmer. Snow quickly becomes enamored with the spirited tribute, who is like no one he’s ever encountered, and finds himself caught between his heart and his ambitions. “It’s a very intimate love story,” the director added.
Viola Davis Joins Ballad Cast as Villainous Volumnia Gaul
The first look at the upcoming prequel follows Monday’s news that the phenomenal Viola Davis would be joining The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes cast as formidable head gamemaker Dr. Volumnia Gaul.
Producer Nina Jacobson said that Viola has been the dream casting for Dr. Gaul from the beginning, citing the layered intelligence and emotion Davis brings to every role.
“A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become,” Jacobson continued. “We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role.”
Alongside Zegler and Blyth, Davis joins a previously announced star-studded cast that includes Hunter Schafer, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Laurel Marsden.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters November 17, 2023.