Washington [US]: ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, a prequel to ‘The Hunger Games’ from Lionsgate, stars Viola Davis as Villain.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Davis will take on the role of Dr Volumnia Gaul, the principal game designer for the tenth Hunger Games. She joins Rachel Zegler, who portrays heroine Lucy Gray Baird from the underprivileged District 12, and Tom Blyth, who will play the juvenile Coriolanus Snow. Josh Andres Rivera, Peter Dinklage, and Hunter Schafer are some of the additionally announced actors. The prequel’s synopsis reads: “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 favour. 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 a snake.”
Along with franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson, Francis Lawrence, who oversaw the direction of three of the four Hunger Games movies, is back in charge and will also serve as producer.
Tim Palen and Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins are executive producers. The studio’s overseers are Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien.
“The Hunger Games films have always been elevated by their exceptional casting, and we are thrilled to be continuing that tradition with Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul. Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story,” said Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
“Dr Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure,” said Lawrence.
“From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role. A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become. We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role”, Jacobson added.
The Woman King, which Davis also produced under her JuVee Productions and for which she has won an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony, will be her next film role. Before being released in theatres by Sony, the film will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Other anticipated on-screen appearances include Black Adam, in which she will reprise her role as DC character Amanda Waller, and the Amazon project starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon called Nike Air Jordan, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
CAA, Lasher Group, and Lichter Grossman are Davis’ agents.