The cast of The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes
Fans of The Hunger Games series have major cause for excitement, with a fifth film in the franchise set to be released later this month.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes will serve as a prequel to the hugely popular dystopian film series, which originally featured Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson.
The new movie is based on the 2020 novel of the same name by Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, and is set 64 years before the events of the first book and movie. While fans are familiar with the core characters Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne, this new film won’t feature the original protagonists. Instead the action centres around a young Coriolanus Snow and District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird.
There’s not long to wait until The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes hits cinemas, so here’s everything we can tell you about the much-hyped new film…
What is the The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie all about?
The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes takes place six decades before the first Hunger Games film, in which Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute in place of her younger sister.
Its plot revolves around a young Coriolanus Snow, taking us along on his journey from Hunger Games mentor to, ultimately, leader of Panem. The new movie also shows Coriolanus’ relationship with his assigned tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, from District 12.
Who’s in the cast of The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes movie?
West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler will take the lead as Lucy Gray Baird, a new tribute from District 12 who is set to battle in the 10th Hunger Games.
Tom Blyth, best known for appearing in the coming-of-age film Scott And Sid, will play Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow, a mentor for the next Hunger Games, and future leader of Panem. Fans will already be familiar with the character in his older form, as he appears throughout the original films, in which he’s portrayed by Donald Sutherland.
BERLIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 5: (L-R) Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer and Josh Andres Rivera attend the Berlin premiere of The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes
EGOT recipient Viola Davis, famous for her roles in projects like How To Get Away With Murder, Fences, The Woman King and Suicide Squad, will play Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the head game maker of the 10th Hunger Games.
Josh Andrés Rivera’s career took off after starring in 2021’s remake of West Side Story. He will join his former co-star Rachel Zegler in this new Hunger Games film, portraying Sejanus Plinth, a classmate and friend of Snow, who is alos the mentor of a tribute from District 2.
Jason Schwartzman has previously appeared in Wes Anderson films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and Fantastic Mr. Fox. He will play Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, the first television host of the 10th Hunger Games.
It’s fair to assume that, given their shared surname, Lucky is a relation of Caesar Flickerman, Stanley Tucci’s from the original Hunger Games films, who served as the tournament’s host.
Is it the same director as the original films?
The film is directed by Francis Lawrence who was involved with all of The Hunger Games films, apart from the very first one.
Speaking of the new film with Entertainment Weekly, he said: “The original ones were all about the consequences of war. [Songbirds & Snakes is] about the state of nature. That’s what makes them feel rich and not superficial, and I think it’s why they’ve stood the test of time, honestly.”
He is also known for directing iconic music videos such as Wyclef Jean feat. Refugee Camp All-Stars’ Gone Till November, Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, Britney Spears’ I’m a Slave 4 U, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance and Beyoncé’s Run The World (Girls).
Which artists feature on the soundtrack?
The original films were renowned for their accompanying soundtracks – and this latest addition is no exception.
The official soundtrack The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes was announced on 1 November 2023, with lead single The Hanging Tree (Lucy Gray’s version) being performed by lead star Rachel Zegler.
Two days later, the album’s second single Can’t Catch Me Now was released by pop singer Olivia Rodrigo. The American singer shared on Instagram that she was “beyond excited” to write a song for the film.
Flatland Cavalry, Sierra Ferrell, The Covey Band and Billy Strings are all also featured on the album.
What have the first reactions to the film been like?
While full reviews are still under embargo, journalists have already begun sharing their thoughts on X (formerly known as Twitter) after having a first look at the film – and the overall reaction seems to suggest this prequel will meet fans’ expectations.
THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES is the best #HungerGames movie yet. It’s darker, more of a character study than anything, but always genuinely entertaining.
With high stakes, solid action, and killer performances, it’s a thrilling return to Panem. pic.twitter.com/W3V6vYqzX4
— Daniel Howat (@howatdk) November 5, 2023
#TheBalladOfSongbirdsAndSnakes is one of the best #TheHungerGames films. Coriolanus Snow’s “rise to power” story is well executed by F. Lawrence in this colder, twistier & more interesting prequel. Tom Blyth impresses, @rachelzegler shines bright & Jason Schwartzman is hilarious. pic.twitter.com/6od5RbANYt
— Fico Cangiano (@FicoCangiano) November 5, 2023
The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes perfectly delivers the downward spiral of who will become President Coriolanus Snow that fans love to hate. The entire cast is phenomenal. Tom Blyth gives the performance of a lifetime! #HungerGames#TheBalladOfSongbirdsAndSnakespic.twitter.com/IuvCnfLyc3
— Tessa Smith - Mama's Geeky (@MamasGeeky) November 5, 2023
as a longtime obsessive of #TheHungerGames , oh boy, the ballad of songbirds and snakes really delivered for me. watching this made me feel the magic i felt when i saw the first movie as a 14-year-old — i literally cannot wait to see it again when it comes out pic.twitter.com/tc22webCXj
— lauren garafano✨ (@laurengarafano) November 5, 2023
When is it out in the UK?
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes will be released in UK cinemas on Friday 17 November.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, the official trailer for the film was released in April and shows its star-studded cast – Rachel Zegler Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and Hunter Schafer – in action.
The clip shows the moment Lucy Gray Baird is selected as a tribute for District 12, as well as a young Coriolanus Snow, who is instructed to turn regular tributes into “spectaculars”.