In a recent interview with Empire, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence discussed the difference between Rachel Zegler’s character Lucy Gray Baird and franchise hero Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence described Lucy as the opposite of Jennifer Lawrence’s iconic character Katniss, who knows “how to play crowds and manipulate people.”
“Katniss was an introvert and a survivor,” he said. “She was quite quiet and stoic, you could almost say [she was] asexual. Lucy Gray is the opposite. She wears her sexuality on her sleeve, [and] she really is a performer.”
What to expect in The Hunger Games spin-off?
“The film follows a young Coriolanus who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12,” reads the synopsis. “But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favor. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.”
Based on the 2020 prequel novel by Suzanne Collins, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set 64 years before the events of the Hunger Games trilogy, where an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow gets assigned to mentor District 12’s tribute girl at the Tenth Hunger Games. Joining Zegler are Tom Blyth, Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Josh Andrés Rivera, Max Raphael, Zoe Renee, Ayomide Adegun, Kaitlyn Akinpelumi, Amelie Hoeferle, Sofia Sanchez, Nick Benson, Laurel Marsden, Lilly Cooper, Luna Steeples, and more.
The film is directed and produced by Lawrence from a screenplay written by Michael Lesslie, based on a draft by Collins and Michael Arndt. It hails from franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson, with Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller serving as executive producers.