“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is directed by Francis Lawrence, who helmed all three sequels to “The Hunger Games.” Also back for more is “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” co-writer Michael Arndt, who was credited as “Michael deBruyn” on that movie and reportedly tag-teamed the “Songbirds and Snakes” screenplay with “Macbeth” and “Assassin’s Creed” scribe Michael Lesslie.
Like the original tetralogy, “Songbirds and Snakes” has loaded its ensemble with venerated character actors as the colorfully-named residents of Panem. Their ranks include Peter Dinklage as the Hunger Games co-creator Casca Highbottom, Viola Davis as the 10th Hunger Games’ head game maker Dr. Volumnia Gaul, Jason Schwartzman as the Hunger Games’ TV host and ancestor of Stanley Tucci’s Caesar Flickerman, Lucretius Flickerman, and Burn Gorman as the peacekeeper Commander Hoff.
Joining Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler as fellow young people in the movie are Zegler’s “West Side Story” co-star Josh Andrés Rivera and “Euphoria” star Hunter Schafer as Coriolanus’s friend and cousin, Sejanus Plinth and Tigris Snow, respectively. The synopsis reads as follows:
“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. 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 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” hits theaters on November 17, 2023.