Lionsgate has released a tense trailer to the prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Based on bestselling author Suzanne Collins‘ 2020 novel of the same name, the film takes place years before the trilogy that starred Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Here, Tom Blyth stars as an 18-year-old Cornelius Snow — the man who became Donald Sutherland‘s evil President Snow in the original films — and his mentoring of Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute played by West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler.
EGOT winner Viola Davis plays the diabolical Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul. She says of the Games, “What happens in there — fueled with the terror of becoming prey — see how quickly we become predator? See how quickly civilization disappears?”
Gaul shapes Snow into the tyrant he becomes.
For now, Snow has to contend with Game of Thrones Emmy winner Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, the powerful creator of the Hunger Games. “Do you hear that, Coriolanus? It’s the sound of Snow falling,” he taunts his eventual successor.
The studio teases of Zegler’s Lucy Gray, “[A]fter she grabs Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to ‘turn the odds in their favor.'”
The synopsis continues, “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.”
Lucy Gray shows off her moral compass, too, saying in the clip, “There’s natural goodness built into us all. We can step across that line into evil, or not.”
The trailer also shows Jason Schwartzman preening as “Lucky” Flickerman, the predecessor of Stanley Tucci‘s flamboyant host Caesar Flickerman.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes debuts in theaters worldwide on November 17, 2023.
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