Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has found its young Coriolanus Snow. Tom Blyth, recently known as the titular outlaw in Epix‘s Billy the Kid, will step into the role of the young president-to-be in the prequel film to one of the biggest film franchises out there. Based on Suzanne Collins‘ most recent #1 New York Times bestseller, the film is due out in theaters on November 17, 2023.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes adapts Collins‘ latest The Hunger Games novel for the big screen, looking to bring viewers back to Panem for the first time since Mockingjay Part 2 back in 2015. The film centers on Coriolanus Snow well before he takes power as the tyrannical president. At 18 years old, he’s looking to restore honor to his lineage which has fallen on hard times in the aftermath of a war in the Capitol. As a student, he is hoping to take part as a mentor in the upcoming 10th annual Hunger Games but is alarmed after he’s chosen to help the girl tribute from the impoverished District 12 Lucy Gray Baird. When she stuns all of Panem with her defiant singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow begins to think they have a chance and does all in his power to assure her victory.
The film marks the return of Francis Lawrence to the franchise as the director with the series producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson both on board. Joining them on the production end are Collins and Tim Palen as executive producers. Michael Lesslie (Macbeth, Assassin’s Creed) wrote the latest screenplay draft, expanding on Collins and Michael Arndt‘s (Little Miss Sunshine, Catching Fire) previous work.
In Blyth, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is casting its lot with a rising star with still little to his name. A graduate of Julliard, he started off in local theaters and U.K. television in some smaller roles. Outside of Billy the Kid, Blyth can only count an appearance in The Gilded Age and a starring role in 2021’s Benediction as his sizable parts so far, but his talent hasn’t escaped the eye of those at Lionsgate. “Tom Blyth is an explosive rising talent whose mesmerizing and charismatic presence makes him an exciting actor and perfect for this leading role,” said Erin Westerman, the President of Production for Lionsgate.
Lawrence and Jacobson also heaped praise on the casting choice of Blyth. “Coriolanus Snow is many things – a survivor, a loyal friend, a cutthroat, a kid quick to fall in love, and a young man ambitious to his core,” said Lawrence. “Tom’s take on the character showed us all the complex ambiguities of this young man as he transforms into the tyrant he would become.” Jacobson added “Tom’s performance will both fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow. He’s a tremendous talent who will show why Snow always lands on top.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes heads to theaters on November 23, 2023. With Blyth now set as the young Snow, the next order of business is finding the songbird, Lucy Gray Baird, to his snake.