Lionsgate announced today that four-time Emmy Award winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) will be joining the expansive cast of the upcoming feature film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Dinklage will be joining the production as Casca Highbottom, dean of the Academy, and will star opposite Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler.
The announcement was made today by Nathan Kahane, President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, who said in a statement about the casting of Dinklage in such an important role in the film. “With production underway, we couldn’t be more excited about the way this cast has come together and thrilled to be welcoming Peter Dinklage to Panem. Peter is not just a fan favorite actor who brings a commanding presence to every part he plays. He is one of the best actors alive. He will bring a formidable, charismatic authority to the important role of the dean of the Academy.”
Blyth is set to star as a young Coriolanus Snow, the tyrannical ruler of Panem in the original novel series, with Zegler playing District 12 Tribute Lucy Gray Baird. Joining this trio as part of the film’s ensemble cast include the already announced Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Knox Gibson, Mackenzie Lansing, Aamer Husain, Nick Benson, Laurel Marsden, Lilly Cooper, Luna Steeples, Hiroki Berrecloth, Jason Schwartzman, Max Raphael, Ayomide Adegun, Amélie Hoeferle, Kaitlyn Akinpelumi, Sofia Sanchez, Zoe Renee, Irene Boehm, Cooper Dillon, Luna Kuse, Kjell Brutscheidt, Dimitri Abold, Athena Strates, Dakota Shapiro, George Somner, and Vaughan Reilly.
Dinklage is mostly recognized for his acclaimed performance as Tyrion Lannister on HBO‘s Game of Thrones, a role that garnered him four Emmy Awards wins and another four nominations. His most recent project was starring as the titular character in Joe Wright‘s 2021 film Cyrano. His upcoming projects include Brothers where he stars opposite Josh Brolin and Brendan Fraser, as well as She Came to Me opposite Anne Hathaway and Marisa Tomei for writer-director Rebecca Miller.
Francis Lawrence is set to make a return to The Hunger Games franchise as the director of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Lawrence previously directed the second, third, and fourth films in the series, for Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One, and Mockingjay Part Two. Alongside the announcement of Dinklage joining the production was a statement by Lawrence, where he said, “Dean Highbottom is one of the most powerful people in Snow’s life. As the austere and vindictive face of the games, he sets the rules that will determine every aspect of Coriolanus’s fate. I’m thrilled that Peter will be bringing him to life.”
The latest draft of the screenplay is written by Michael Lesslie, building off the work of The Hunger Games original author Suzanne Collins and Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt, who penned a previous draft of the film. Another familiar face returning to the project is longtime franchise producer Nina Jacobson, who will once again step into a producing position alongside her producing partner Brad Simpson, with Lawrence also serving as a producer. Jacobson also proved a statement with the casting announcement, saying, “I cannot think of an actor more perfectly suited to inhabit the role of Highbottom. As the man credited with conceiving the Hunger Games and the Dean of the Academy, Casca Highbottom is a character with secrets. Peter’s magnetism, intensity and dark humor will infuse him with the intelligence, depth and pathos that the role demands.” Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers with Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien overseeing on behalf of Lionsgate.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes premieres in theaters worldwide on November 17, 2023. You can read the official description for the upcoming prequel to the blockbuster franchise down below:
Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow 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, 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.