As pre-production continues on ‘The Hunger Games’ prequel film ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, studio Lionsgate has announced five new cast members, joining Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth.
A variety of newcomers and rising stars, Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Knox Gibson, Mackenzie Lansing and Aamer Husain are the prequel’s newest recruits.
Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the “Hunger Games” films based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series (“Catching Fire”, “Mockingjay – Part 1″ and Mockingjay – Part 2”) is back behind the camera for this new film, which has seen screenplay work by Michael Arndt and, more recently, Michael Lesslie.
The story, based on Collins’ prequel novel, is set approximately 60 years before the events of the original book trilogy. He finds 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) as the last hope of his dwindling bloodline, a once-proud family that has fallen out of favor in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, young Snow is alarmed when he is named a mentor to Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler), the tribute girl from impoverished District 12.
But, after Lucy Gray gets Panem’s full attention by singing defiantly during the harvest ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the tide in their favor. Uniting their showmanship instincts 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.
Lance, who is in his final year at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, will play Marcus, a District 2 tribute.
Liao, who has had roles in ‘Always Be My Maybe’, ‘Secret Society of Second Born Royals’ and the Apple TV+ series ‘Physical’, will portray Clemensia Dovecote, one of Coriolanus’ closest friends and mentor of a District 11 tribute.
Gibson, recently seen on Netflix’s ‘Forgive Us Our Trespassing’, is an athlete and amputee and has spent six years starring in a variety of shows, movies and commercials. He will be seen as Bobbin, District 8 tribute.
Lansing, meanwhile, who appeared in ‘The Deuce’ and ‘Mare of Easttown’ and had a role in Gareth Edwards’ new sci-fi film ‘True Love’, scored the role of Coral, a tribute to the District 4.
Finally, there’s Husain, who is making his film debut after working on an episode of the Canadian crime drama “Hudson & Rex.” He will be Felix Ravinstill, a District 11 tribute mentor.
Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are back as producers alongside Lawrence, and the new film will explore unseen territory, examining the early days of the Hunger Games and their terrible impact on Panem society.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents” hits theaters November 17, 2023.