Ziegler sparked speculation about his choice after tweeting on Monday night: “Listen… can you grow in comfort? Are you becoming a decidedly rested person?” main character name, Lucy Gray Bird.
The film is adapted from Susan Collins’ 2020 book of the same name, which takes place decades before Katniss Everdeen’s adventures in The Hunger Games. That means Jennifer Lawrence, who played stardom as Flaming Girl, didn’t appear in the prequel’s story. Instead, “Song of Songbirds and Snakes” focuses on Coriolanus Snow, an ambitious boy who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the miserable country of Panem. As previously announced, Tom Blyth (“Billy the Kid” and “The Gilded Age”) will play the role of Young Snow.
In the upcoming film, 18-year-old Snow is chosen to direct Lucy Gray, the homage to District 12’s female downfall, during the tenth installment of The Hunger Games. As featured in the “Hunger Games” trilogy – which was developed into four feature films – the televised barbaric event randomly selects two teenagers from each region to fight to the death. In the novel, humble Lucy Gray catches everyone’s attention by singing during a harvest feast. With her talent and charm, Snow thinks she can turn the odds in her favor to win the matches.
Given Lucy Gray’s vocal prowess, it’s no surprise that Zegler, who surpassed thousands to star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s popular remake of “West Side Story,” landed the lead role in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Zegler will appear in “Shazam! Wrath of the Gods” alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu; And long live Disney’s Snow White.
“When you read Susan’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility and strong, determined singing voice shine through. “Rachel embodies all these skills – she is the perfect choice for Lucy Gray,” said Nathan Kahan, president of Lionsgate Motion. Image Group.
“The Hunger Games” veteran Frances Lawrence is back to direct the next film, which will begin production later this year. Michael Arndt, who wrote the second part of the “Burning” series, had intended to write the screenplay, but transferred the tasks to Michael Leslie (“Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender).
“Like everyone else, I saw Rachel Ziegler for the first time on West Side Story, and like everyone else, I knew I was watching a star who would rule the screen for a generation,” said Francis Lawrence. “Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and challenging, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
Franchise producer Nina Jacobson and co-producer Brad Simpson will oversee the final installment of “The Hunger Games,” along with Frances Lawrence. Collins, Tim Palin and Jim Miller will executive produce.
“Lucy Gray is an incredibly complex character, an artist who must use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive,” said Jacobson. Our cast, Deb Zane and Dylan Jury, led an exhaustive search, reading hundreds of actors in search of the perfect Lucy Gray. That search ended when Rachel Ziegler blew through the roof with the depth and breadth of her talent as an actress, singer and performer. Rachel is totally persuasive; Just like Lucy Gray, her voice and charisma control the stage as her inner strength and humanity transform those around her.”
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” will be released in theaters on November 17, 2023.