West Side Story lead Rachel Zegler is slated to star as Lucy Gray Baird in the upcoming Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Zegler will join Tom Blyth, who was recently confirmed for the role of young Coriolanus Snow in the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel.
The film will follow an 18-year-old Snow, years prior to his stint as the tyrannical President of Panem, according to an official logline. “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,” the description continues. “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.”
“When you read Suzanne’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility, and fiercely powerful, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of those skills — she is the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president Nathan Kahane in a statement.
The film will see the return of Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games titles — Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One and Mockingjay Part Two — alongside producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.
“Like everybody, I first saw Rachel Zegler in ‘West Side Story,’ and like everybody, I knew I was watching a star who would command the screen for a generation,” said Lawrence. “Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled to premiere in theaters on November 17, 2023.
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