Viola Davis joins cast of ‘Hunger Games’ prequel as villain
Viola Davis has been cast to play a villain in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the prequel to the hit film series “Hunger Games.”
The Oscar-winning actress’ character, Dr. Volumnia Gaul, is the head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games, as per an exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, Aug. 15. Davis will be joining previously revealed cast members Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer and Jason Schwartzman.
The film’s director Francis Lawrence noted that the production team had been dreaming to cast Davis as Dr. Gaul, given the “finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role.” He also described the character as “creative” and “as fearsome as she is formidable.”
“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,” Lawrence described Dr. Gaul in the report.
Meanwhile, Nathan Kahane of Lionsgate’s motion picture group believes Davis’ addition to the cast will “add layers of complexity and menace to this story.”
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” took place decades before the events of the original “The Hunger Games” movies, which started at the 74th Hunger Games.
The movie follows the story of 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) mentoring District 12’s female tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler) during the 10th Hunger Games. As fans of the franchise know, the young Coriolanus Snow would eventually grow up to be the tyrannical President Snow in the original films.
Lawrence, who also directed three of the four original “Hunger Games” movies, will co-produce the prequel film alongside franchise producer Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson. Meanwhile, “Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins and Tim Palen will executive-produce.
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” which is based on the 2020 book of the same name by Collins, is set to premiere on Nov. 17, 2023. /ra