The cast is growing. Tony and Oscar winner Viola Davis is set to play the villainous gamemaker Dr. Volumnia Gaul in Lionsgate's Hunger Games prequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The forthcoming flick, titled The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins.
Davis joins a cast that includes the previously announced Rachel Zegler, who will star as Lucy Gray Baird, and Tom Blyth, who will play the young Coriolanus Snow. The story follows the 18-year-old male lead, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem. He is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.
The movie will be helmed by Francis Lawrence, who previously directed the franchise’s Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One, and Mockingjay Part Two, featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, and Woody Harrelson. The latest draft of the screenplay is by Michael Lesslie.
“The Hunger Games films have always been elevated by their exceptional casting, and we are thrilled to be continuing that tradition with Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul," says Lionsgate Motion Picture Group President Nathan Kahane. "Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story."
“Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure,” adds director Lawrence.
Other cast members include Josh Andrés Rivera, who starred with Zegler in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, and Peter Dinklage, who starred in stage productions of Richard III, A Month in the Country, and Cyrano de Bergerac in Cyrano (later reprising his role in the movie musical adaptation). Hunter Schafer from Euphoria will also star.
Two-time Tony winner Davis was last seen on Broadway in the 2010 revival of Fences, a role which she reprised in the movie adaptation, winning an Academy Award for her performance. Additional stage credits include King Hedley II and Seven Guitars. Davis took home an Emmy Award for Best Actress for her work in ABC's How To Get Away With Murder and will soon star in the historical drama The Woman King.
It will be produced by Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson, along with executive producers Francis Lawrence, Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller.