The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to megahit franchise The Hunger Games, has confirmed a slew of new additions to its cast.
The prequel, which is taken from Suzanne Collins' novel of the same name, takes place a great many years before the adventures of Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen and centers on young Coriolanus Snow, who would go on to become the tyrannical president of Panem and the role played by Donald Sutherland in the original movie series.
Production on the prequel has been underway for a while, and a teaser clip has been released (which you can see below), but only the movie's two leads had been confirmed formally.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will star Rachel Zegler, the rising star who played Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and will play Snow White in Disney's lavish new live-action retelling of its animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. She takes the role of Lucy Gray Baird, while English actor Tom Blyth, star of the recent reboot of Billy The Kid, has been cast as the young Coriolanus Snow.
Joining Zegler and Blyth will be Euphoria star Hunter Schafer. Schafer, who stars as Jules Vaughn on HBO's hugely successful teen drama, will play Tigris Snow, the cousin and confidante of Coriolanus Snow.
As well as Schafer, Mackenzie Lansing, who had a supporting role in Mare Of Easttown has joined the cast, as has Laurel Marsden, who is currently on screen in Marvel's new show, Ms Marvel, and Lily Cooper, who portrayed Murta in The Witcher's first two seasons.
What's the plot of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes? And when we will see it?
The official synopsis for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes reads as follows: “Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12."
It continues: "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. 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.”
Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games films (Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2), is back to direct the prequel, which is booked to hit theaters on November 17 in 2023.