The battle between power and compassion becomes the primary theme in the second trailer for Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Helmed by director Francis Lawrence, this upcoming film is an adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ novel by the same name and is set 64 years before the original series.
In the prequel, the 10th annual Hunger Games is set to begin, a harrowing spectacle where district children are forced to fight to the death. The event serves as retribution for the districts’ earlier rebellion against the Capitol during the first civil war. Despite taking place decades before the original movies’ events, the film brings back many familiar characters and zeros in on the teenage years of Coriolanus Snow, portrayed by Tom Blyth, “who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol.”
As per The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes logline, “With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favour. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.”
The latest trailer offers a glimpse into the prequel’s overarching narrative, the budding romance between Tom Blyth’s Snow and Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray and even features plenty of throwbacks. It kicks off with a grimmer take on a familiar tune, Zegler’s rendition of “The Hanging Tree,” originally performed by Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen in Mockingjay Part 1.
In the trailer, we hear Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis), the Games’ creator, asking Snow, “After everything you’ve seen out there in the word, what are the Hunger Games for?” After a brief pause, Snow replies, “The Hunger Games… they’re to punish the Districts. Those ‘tributes’ don’t have a choice,” alluding to the young children forced to participate. The preview introduces Peter Dinklage’s Casca Highbottom as the school dean and accidental creator of the Hunger Games, whose message to the students is clear and direct: “Your role is to turn these children into spectacles, not survivors.”
We even see Snow’s cousin, Tigris, trying to guide him morally. In one scene, she tells Coriolanus, “Imagine it was your name that they pulled. I’d just wanna know that somebody still cared for me, that I was still of value.” This leads to Snow taking on the role of a mentor for Zegler’s Lucy Gray Baird, promising to help her get out of the Games. Several shots of the arena and children being forced to fight along with a better look at Viola Davis’evil and cunning head game maker Dr. Volumnia Gaul are thrown in. We also witness the budding romance between Snow and Lucy Gray.
Later in the trailer, Viola Davis’ Gaul says, “I want my enemies to see a rainbow of destruction engulfing the world.” The trailer ends with Gaul repeating her question, “What are the Hunger Games for?” We then see a transformed Snow, sporting a shaved head and dressed in a grey Capitol uniform, seemingly ready with a fitting answer.
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Joining Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler in the cast are Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, and Viola Davis. Francis Lawrence directed The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes from a screenplay by Michael Lesslie and Suzanne Collins. The film’s executive producers are Tim Palen and Jim Miller, with Brad Simpson, Nina Jacobson, and Francis Lawrence.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is slated to hit theatres on November 17.
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