Lionsgate Casts Rachel Zegler in ‘The Hunger Games’ Prequel

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West Side Story

Erik Gruenwedel

Lionsgate on May 31 announced that it had chosen Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) as Lucy Gray Baird in the studio’s upcoming film The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ New York Times Bestseller. Zegler will play the female lead in the film opposite Tom Blyth, who will play young Coriolanus Snow. The film is set to hit theaters on November 17, 2023.

The hunger Games The film franchise has grossed over $3 billion worldwide, making Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen, a global star.

Rachel Zegler

Zegler won acclaim for her breakthrough performance in Steven Spielberg West Side Storyfor which she received Best Actress awards from the National Board of Review and the Golden Globe Awards.

Years before becoming the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Snow is the last hope of his dwindling bloodline, a once-proud family that has fallen out of favor in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Baird, the impoverished District 12’s female tribute. But, after getting Panem’s full attention by singing defiantly during the harvest ceremony, Snow thinks they might be able to turn the tide in their favor.

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“When you read Suzanne’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility and fiercely powerful, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of these skills – she’s the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray,” said said Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, in a statement.

The film will be directed by Francis Lawrence, who previously directed the franchise film. Catch fire, mockingjay part oneand mockingjay part two. It will be helmed by franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson, as well as Francis Lawrence. Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers.

“Like everyone else, I saw Rachel Zegler for the first time in West Side Story, and like everyone else, I knew I was looking at a star who would rule the screen for a generation,” Lawrence said. “Lucy Gray is a perfect fit for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and provocative, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.

The latest draft of the screenplay is by Michael Lesslie (macbethwith Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, and Assassin’s Creed). Lesslie draws on the work of writers Suzanne Collins and Michael Arndt (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunin addition to being one of the authors of Catch fire). The screenplay is based on Collins’ bestselling novel. Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien oversee on behalf of the studio.

Zegler should next appear in DC Comics Shazam! Fury of the gods alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, which debuts in December 2022. She is currently filming the title role in the Disney live-action White as snow, directed by Marc Webb. She is represented by ICM and Freundlich Law.

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