West Side Story star Rachel Zegler has been cast as the female lead, Lucy Gray Baird, in Lionsgate’s upcoming prequel feature film The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes., where she joins the previously announced Tom Blyth (Billy the Kid) as a young Coriolanus Snow.
“Like everybody, I first saw Rachel Zegler in West Side Story, and like everybody, I knew I was watching a star who would command the screen for a generation,” said Francis Lawrence (Catching Fire, Mockingjay), who is directing the new film. “Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent, and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional, and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
“When you read Suzanne Collins’ book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility, and fiercely powerful, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of those skills – she is the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray,” added Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate.
SEE ALSO: Snow White live-action remake casts West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler as Disney’s first princess
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. 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.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set for release on November 17th 2023.