The next mentor for Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has joined the Games. It was just announced that West Side Story‘s Josh Andrés Rivera is joining the growing cast, opposite Tom Blyth and fellow West Side Story alum Rachel Zegler, as Sejanus Plinth, a citizen of District 2 before joining the ranks of the infamous Capitol.
Rivera is set to play Sejanus Plinth, a close friend to the young Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) and mentor to the District 2 tribute. Rivera will appear alongside his former West Side Story co-star and real-life girlfriend Zegler, who stars as Lucy Gray Baird, the Distract 12 tribute mentored by the future President Snow.
Rivera is a newcomer to Hollywood with an impressive first feature film role as Chino in Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of the 1957 musical West Side Story, and now a prominent role in The Hunger Games franchise’s fifth installment. Future projects for the up-and-coming star include Cat Person, directed by Susanna Fogel, writer of Booksmart, and a series lead role in HBO‘s crime drama Vegas High. Trained as a stage actor as well, Josh performed in the original company for the first national tour of the Tony-winning musical Hamilton.
The prequel to the film adaptations of Suzanne Collins‘ dystopian novels, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, takes place decades before Katniss Everdeen dismantles the deadly Games. An 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (eventually the tyrannical president of Panem) is the last hope for his once-prominent family. The Snow family has fallen from grace in the post-war Capitol, but with the tenth Hunger Games rapidly approaching, Coriolanus must save his family’s honor when he’s assigned mentor to the District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. In the first year of mentors, Snow believes he can utilize Baird’s celebrity to gain the Capitol’s favor. Uniting together, Snow and Baird utilize their showmanship and political know-how to try and survive The Hunger Games.
Directed by Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is produced by Joseph Drake, Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson and executive-produced by Collins. Rivera joins other recently announced cast members Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Knox Gibson, Mackenzie Lansing, and Aamer Husain.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters worldwide on November 17, 2023. You can check out the official synopsis below:
“Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) is the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Zegler), the girl tribute from impoverished District 12. But, after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.”