At the end of their session at CinemaCon on 28 April 2022, Lionsgate announced that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, The Hunger Games prequel, will premiere on 17 November 2023. The prequel now has Peter Dinklage as a new cast member on board.
This time, too, the movie is slated to release right before Thanksgiving, just like The Hunger Games sequels — Catching Fire (2013), Mockingjay Part One (2014) and Mockingjay Part Two (2015).
Here’s more on The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
About the film and book
Lionsgate unveiled a short teaser of the 2023 film, which neither displayed clips of the film nor revealed details of the cast. According to a Variety report, it showed frozen tree branches and a text that said, “The world will discover… who is a songbird… and who is a snake.” It also mentioned the release date.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is based on Suzanne Collins’ eponymous novel, which was released in May 2020. Set 64 years before ‘the Mockingjay became the symbol of rebellion,’ as stated by the book trailer, the prequel novel begins on the morning of the Reaping Day of the tenth Hunger Games. An 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is appointed as the mentor of his tribute Lucy Gray Baird, “a girl from District 12 navigating her own path to survival,” states the book teaser.
Set long before Katniss Everdeen embarks on her adventures, the prequel depicts the journey of a young Coriolanus who later becomes the tyrannical president of Panem.
The original films garnered a mammoth box office collection of USD 3 billion. Interestingly, Lionsgate had already announced a film based on the prequel book even before it was published in 2020.
The cast of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
The Hunger Games franchise has a star-studded cast and Peter Dinklage is the latest addition who plays Casca Highbottom, the dean of the Academy where the young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) is a student. The film also stars Rachel Zegler as tribute Lucy Gray Baird and Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow with Josh Andres Rivera, Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Aamer Husain, Hiroki Berrecloth and Jason Schwartzman also in pivotal roles.
According to a Deadline report, director Francis Lawrence said, “Dean Highbottom is one of the most powerful people in Snow’s life. As the austere and vindictive face of the games, he sets the rules that will determine every aspect of Coriolanus’ fate. I’m thrilled that Peter will be bringing him to life.”
Peter Dinklage is an actor par excellence and is sure to do utmost justice to the character. He received global stardom after his role as Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, which ended in 2019. After that, he appeared in Cyrano (2021), directed by Joe Wright. He also has two other upcoming films — Brothers starring Josh Brolin and Brendon Fraser, and She Came to Me starring Anne Hathaway and Marisa Tomei.
The film has a well-known crew who have been a part of The Hunger Games franchise. While the film is helmed by Francis Lawrence, its screenplay is penned by Oscar-winning screenwriters Michael Arndt, Michael Lesslie and Collins.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is produced by Nina Jacobson who has also produced the other films. It is co-produced by Brad Simpson and Lawrence as well.
Main and featured image: Courtesy Lionsgate