MANILA, Philippines – Lionsgate shared on Tuesday, August 16, the first-look photo of Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler for the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
“This is a story about love. And we love all kinds of things we don’t trust,” the post reads along with a photo of the lead characters, Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird, cozying up together in a grass field.
The prequel, set roughly 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games, follows a young Snow decades before he becomes the tyrannical and powerful President of Panem. “He is a shape-shifter who craves control, but is drawn to a woman who threatens everything he thought he wanted,” producer Nina Jacobson described Snow, according to Vanity Fair’s report.
The woman Jacobson mentions is Lucy Gray, a tribute from District 12 like Katniss Everdeen. “This is not with judgment, but Lucy Gray is the anti-Katniss,” director Francis Lawrence says. “She’s a musician, she’s a performer, she’s a charmer,” he added, saying that Snow had never met a girl like her before.
Their relationship starts with Snow in the arena and would grow quickly behind the cameras. According to Lawrence, the film would show that Snow is also “a real human being” even though fans have hated him in the Hunger Games franchise.
Aside from Blyth and Zegler, other actors who will appear in the film are Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow, Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, and Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul.
The successful Hunger Games franchise is based on Collins’ best-selling trilogy that includes the young adult dystopian novels, The Hunger Games (2008), Catching Fire (2009), and Mockingjay (2010).
The films have collectively grossed over $3 billion globally so far, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, and Donald Sutherland.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to premiere on November 17, 2023.