The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has gained its new Head Gamemaker as The Hollywood Reporter has announced Viola Davis (The Woman King) has joined the upcoming prequel in The Hunger Games franchise.
Davis will portray Dr. Volumnia Gaul, one of the originators of the Hunger Games in the aftermath of Panem’s civil war and the Head Gamemaker, designing new tricks and traps into the games as she attempts to devise new ways to keep the public interested and the Districts in line. She’s feared by many and is a mentor to the young Coriolanus Snow.
“The Hunger Games films have always been elevated by their exceptional casting, and we are thrilled to be continuing that tradition with Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul. Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story,” said Lionsgate motion picture group president Nathan Kahane.
“Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure,” said returning franchise director Francis Lawrence.
“From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr. Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role,” said producer Nina Jacobson. “A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become. We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role.”
Francis Lawrence, who has directed all but the first instalment of the $2.97 billion grossing franchise, is returning to helm the prequel which will be adapted from the Suzanne Collins’ novel by Michael Lesslie from Collins and Michael Arndt’s previous draft.
Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) 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 (Rachel Zegler), 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 Gray’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 stars Tom Blyth (Billy The Kid), Rachel Zegler (West Side Story), Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), Jason Schwartzman (The French Dispatch), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Viola Davis (The Suicide Squad), Josh Andrés Rivera (West Side Story), Ashley Liao (Physical), Knox Gibson (Forgive Us Our Trespasses), Aamer Husain (Hudson & Rex), Mackenzie Lansing (Mare of Easttown), Nick Benson (Big Shot), Laurel Marsden (Ms. Marvel), Lilly Cooper (The Witcher), Luna Steeples (Overdue), Hiroke Berrecloth (Red Rose), Zoe Renee (Jinn), Kaitlyn Akinpelumi (The School of Good and Evil), Ayomide Adegun (The Continental), Max Raphael (Slaughterhouse Rulez) and newcomers Sofia Sanchez, Amelie Hoeferle and Jerome Lance.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes arrives in cinemas on November 17th, 2023.
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