Visitors at the major cinema fair, CineEurope, got to hear about the casting process for the young lead roles from the film’s director, Francis Lawrence.
CineEurope is Europe’s largest cinema fair and an opportunity for film studios to network and promote their movies. Like many other companies, Lionsgate, the production company behind “The Hunger Games,” was present.
After some talk about “John Wick: Chapter 4,” they moved on to the main course of the day for the attendees – a presentation of the latest installment in the Panem and Hunger Games saga.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” has the largest budget to date in Lionsgate’s immensely popular series based on Suzanne Collins’ books. The story in “THG: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a prequel that takes place several decades before the tale of Katniss Everdeen.
The story revolves around a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) who is tasked with mentoring the impoverished girl, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), selected to compete for District 12. The two soon discover they share a knack for performance art and politics but struggle with survival and trusting each other.
“It’s a new story, with new motivations and characters. We managed to create a completely new visual expression that can still be recognized as Panem but also feels fresh and different,” said one of the film’s producers during Lionsgate’s presentation.
Francis Lawrence, the director of the trilogy, also took the stage and shared a story about the film’s two lead actors, specifically when he decided to cast Blyth in the role of Coriolanus Snow.
Lawrence explained that he had asked Zegler to sing a song (in a regional mountain dialect from the Appalachians) for Blyth over Zoom, and the moment was magical, according to Deadline’s reporting from the event. “You could see it, the way he looked at her when she sang. It was perfect.”
Francis Lawrence also reflected on the film’s symbolic title:
“A duality of light and darkness, good and evil, joy and sorrow – it exists within all of us… We are all songbirds and snakes, but can we feel a connection with others around us? That is the question,” said the director. Therefore, we can expect the story’s ambivalent relationship with morality to continue with undiminished intensity.
Other cast members in the film include Viola Davis as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, and Jason Schwartzman as Lucky Flickerman – a promising cast lineup.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” will have its theatrical premiere on November 17th.