All is looking ready and set for the take-off of the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as the cast has been expanded to include Oscar winner Viola Davis. Davis is set to further fortify an already formidable cast that includes Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Hunter Schafer (Euphoria), Tom Blyth, and Rachel Zegler. Davis will be portraying the villain, Dr. Volumnia Gaul described as the head game maker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. Acknowledging, Davis‘ acting prowess, Lionsgate motion picture group president Nathan Kahane said of Davis‘ casting:
“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. Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story.”
Francis Lawrence the director of the previous Hunger Games movies who will return to the director’s chair for the upcoming prequel also expressed excitement about working with Davis. He described Davis‘ role of Dr. Gaul as “cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable.” Lawrence went on to add that the production team had long had their eyes set on Davis to play the role “because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role.” Further adding: “A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become. We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role.”
Viola Davis has run the gamut of roles since she went full fledge with her career in 1992. Davis is no stranger to villainous roles, having portrayed the formidable Amanda Waller in David Ayer‘s Suicide Squad. Perhaps the evilest role she has taken on has been that of a serial killer on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Before she is seen as the antagonist in the Hunger Games prequel, Davis will next be seen as the protagonist in the upcoming historical drama, The Woman King where she will play general Nanisca, the leader of an all-female army, the Agojie of the African kingdom of Dahomey as they fight to repel western forces that seek to disrupt their way of life.
From the stage to the screen, Davis has an enviable list of accolades to show for her incredible talent. She has won an Emmy, two Tony Awards, and an Oscar, making her the only Black American to win the triple crown for acting. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be produced by Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson with the director, Lawrence also serving as co-producer. Executive producers include Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins and Tim Palen.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2023. You can read the official synopsis 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 a snake.”