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The odds appear to be in favor of the upcoming prequel movie to the blockbuster “Hunger Games.” A series of recent announcements about the upcoming movie has fans excited about the latest story from the world of Panem.
Suzanne Collins’ book “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which was released in May 2020, was confirmed for a silver screen adaptation even before the novel hit shelves. The movie will hit theaters on Nov. 17, 2023, according to a late April announcement from Lionsgate at CinemaCon, a gathering of movie theater owners.
The news came when Lionsgate debuted a small teaser trailer of the new film that simply showed a wintry scene with ice melting to reveal a bird and a snake.
“You’re invited to return to the Games,” the screen caption read, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “In 2023, the world will discover who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”
The announcement was also made over social media via the production’s official Twitter account at @BalladOfPanem.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” is scheduled to be released on the 17th of November, 2023! pic.twitter.com/Z5tbuuaIhj
— The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (@BalladOfPanem) April 29, 2022
And the latest news is that the film now has its star.
Lionsgate announced actor Tom Blyth will portray the young Coriolanus Snow in the “Hunger Games” prequel. Blyth’s previous credits include “Billy The Kid,” “The Gilded Age” and “Benediction,” according to his IMDb profile.
“Tom Blyth is an explosive rising talent whose mesmerizing and charismatic presence makes him an exciting actor and perfect for this leading role,” Erin Westerman, president of production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said in Variety.
This tweet from the official movie account declares, “We have our first cast member!”
WE HAVE OUR FIRST CAST MEMBER! Tom Blythe with play Coriolanus Snow!!! pic.twitter.com/eNJvCfTGje
— The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (@BalladOfPanem) May 16, 2022
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is set 64 years before the start of the original “Hunger Games” trilogy in which readers meet Katniss Everdeen, a teenage heroine who fights to liberate Panem from its evil leader, President Snow.
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival. The reconstruction period ten years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity,” Collins said in a 2019 statement before the book was released.
The central character of this story is 18-year-old Snow, long before he rises to power as president of Panem. The studio released a logline for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” film to media outlets. The Hollywood Reporter shared it in its entirety.
“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,” the logline summarized. “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 movie’s producer, Nina Jacobson, said fans will see some unexpected nuances to the villain of the original trilogy.
“Tom’s performance will both fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow,” she told Variety. “He’s a tremendous talent who will show why Snow always lands on top.”
Production for the upcoming movie, which will film in places like Poland and Germany, begins this July.