The success of the original four movies adapted from Suzanne Collins’ ‘The Hunger Games’ trilogy of novels means that Lionsgate and the filmmakers were always going to pounce when she came up with a prequel concept fleshed out into a new book.
So now, of course, we have the movie adaptation, headed to screens in a couple of months.
‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ turns back the clock to 64 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteered as tribute, and decades before Coriolanus Snow became the tyrannical President of Panem.
Yet despite the presence of the games, ‘The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ promises something subtly different from Katniss’ experiences.
What’s the story of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’?
The prequel follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol.
With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates.
With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
(Given who he becomes, it’s pretty clear that he leans more towards the reptilian side. But we’re willing to be surprised!)
Who else is in ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’?
The cast also includes Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Ashley Liao, Sofia Sanchez, Mackenzie Lansing, Zoe Renee, George Somner, Isobel Jesper Jones, Lilly Maria Cooper, Max Raphael, Dakota Shapiro, Vaughan Reilly, Nick Benson, Knox Gibson, Amélie Hoeferle and Cooper Dillon.
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The creators speak
Here’s what producer Nina Jacobson told Vanity Fair about the prequel:
“It’s completely different stylistically, in terms of design, character, and point of view. To be able to show a different side of Panem at a different time in its history has been really exciting.”
And here’s director Francis Lawrence (a veteran of the existing franchise) from the same interview about the tone and the source material from ‘Games’ novel writer Collins:
“This is very much a story about love. It’s this kind of love story set in a different kind of a world in a different time. A very intimate love story. Suzanne has done such a great job of going back into the mythology and telling a story about the creation of the world. You get a little background of Katniss. You will obviously get a lot of the background of Snow, the history of the Games, the history of some of the music, where songs like ‘The Hanging Tree’ actually come from.”
‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ will be in theaters on November 17th.
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