Lionsgate has announced that it has cast Tom Blyth as a young Coriolanus Snow in its Hunger Games prequel; The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents.
Production on the film is early days, but Tom Blyth, the star of Epix’s Billy the Kid TV series and the 2021 film Benediction, has been cast as the young man who will become the brutal and scheming president, who was played by Donald Sutherland in the previous films.
“Tom Blyth is an explosive rising talent whose captivating and charismatic presence makes him an exciting actor perfect for this lead role,” said Erin Westerman, president of production for Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
It’s been seven years since Katniss Everdeen put an arrow into the tyrannical regime on Capitol Hill in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part Two. But instead of continuing that story, Lionsgate’s next movie is an adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ prequel novel. The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents jump back a few years to tell the story of Coriolanus Snow and his rise to power.
Snow is only half of the main characters in the prequel. The 18-year-old heir to a dying family of elites is tasked with mentoring Lucy Gray Baird, a District 12 tribute who has to participate in the 10th Hunger Games. When Lucy sings defiantly during harvest ceremonies, Snow sees a potential vector of power. The production has yet to find his Lucy.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be directed by Francis Lawrence, who previously directed Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One and Mockingjay Part Two. The film will be produced by Nina Jacobson and Bard Simpson, with Tim Palen and author Suzanne Collins serving as executive producers. The current script was written by Michael Leslie, who previously wrote Macbeth and Assassin’s Creed, both of which starred Michael Fassbender.
Jacobson has previously mentioned how the prequel will differ from the original Hunger Games trilogy. “Well, it’s very early, they take place at very different times,” Jacobson said. “This is the 10th Hunger Games instead of Catching Fire’s 75th. I think the Hunger Games are considerably less dazzling than they ultimately become. And I think seeing a Capitol character with a point of view that takes you to through a good chunk of history is something we’ve never done.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents will be released in theaters on November 17, 2023.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK news and features editor.