‘Songbirds & Snakes’ Director Francis Lawrence On Finding Tom Blyth; Lead Star Chats Coriolanus Snow’s Next Steps & Lucy Gray Baird’s Whereabouts – Crew Call Podcast
20.11.2023 - 20:15
Warning: This podcast contains spoilers about the ending of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
“In 2015, we thought she was done.”
That’s what filmmaker Francis Lawrence thought about the finale of the $3 billion-plus grossing The Hunger Games franchise with Mockingjay Part 2, that is until author Suzanne Collins gave him and series pic producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson a heads up in late 2019 that a prequel manuscript set 64 years before the original film, and focusing in on the origin story of main baddie Coriolanus Snow, was coming their way.
But rather than just more bows and arrows and fierce arena battles, there was a whole other sublime element to the prequel and that was in its country music underpinnings, taking inspiration from the early turn-of-the-century Bluegrass and folksy sounds that draw their lineage from Scotland, England and Ireland. Such lyrics written in the book help paint the story of scrappy, District 12 member, Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler, who is part of a traveling musician group. She becomes a tribute in the first inaugural Hunger Games, and Snow her mentor. Opposites attract; the two turning each other’s worlds upside down as the posh scion realizes his purpose in the world following his father’s death years ago.
Similar to when it came to putting the cast to the original Hunger Games together, Lionsgate went with a fresh face cast on Songbirds & Snakes, Zegler’s big cinematic debut being Steven Spielberg’s 2021 feature musical remake West Side Story as Maria.
But the lead role of Snow went to British Juilliard alum Tom Blyth, who “came out of the blue” says Lawrence. The filmmaker of Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Mockingjay Part 1 & 2,
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