- The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents is a Snow origin story set 64 years before Katniss Everdeen and explores the origins of various elements in the Hunger Games universe.
- Director Francis Lawrence was excited to delve back into the world of The Hunger Games and thought it would be fun to create a period piece in Panem using practical locations in Berlin and Poland.
- Rachel Zegler, who plays Lucy Gray, brought charisma, mystery and a phenomenal voice to the role, singing all of her songs live on set. The film can be enjoyed as a standalone experience and introduces audiences to the world of The Hunger Games.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen changed Panem forever. During the tenth annual Hunger Games, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow searches for a way to regain his family’s power. He is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird for the games, much to his initial dismay. However, Lucy stands out from the others, making Snow believe that they might have a chance. This will be the year that will forever change the course of the Hunger Games, resorting to showmanship to regain the attention of the people of the capital. However, things take a dark turn as Snow’s ambition continues to dictate his judgment, even as Lucy shows him a new path.
Francis Lawrence returns The Hunger Games Franchise to direct The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The script was written by Michael Lesslie and Michael Arndt and is based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes It features a powerful cast led by Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage and Viola Davis.
Related: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes’ Title Is A Hidden Katniss Reference – Hunger Games Theory Explained
Screen rant interviewed director Francis Lawrence about his latest project Hunger Games Movie, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. He talked about how Lucy Gray is different from Katniss Everdeen and that Zegler performed all of her songs live in the film. Lawrence also talked about doing a period piece set in Panem and why he trusts Collins to lead the way in the franchise.
Francis Lawrence talks about The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Screen Rant: Francis, eight years since the last one Hunger Games movie, and I feel like it’s eight years too long. I love this movie. How excited you were to immerse yourself in the world again The hunger GamesAnd what excited you most about exploring the lore of what we see here in the prequel?
Francis Lawrence: I was really excited. I have to say, when we finished Mockingjay, there were no plans for any more books. Everyone kind of thought they were done, and then in 2019 Suzanne surprised us by saying, “Hey guys, you know what?” I’m almost done with a book. I thought, wow, okay. I think because Nina and I had both gone off and done other things. The idea of returning to the world of The Hunger Games was super, super exciting.
And even more so when we read it and saw that it is a completely different kind of story. That it’s a Snow origin story. That there is this musical element. Compared to the others, it’s almost a historical piece. That we could do it. New games and a new version of the city, the capital. And also because Suzanne has done such a brilliant job of showing the origins of many things we are familiar with.
The origins of the hanging tree, see the hanging tree. Hence the origins of Katniss, Snow’s relationship with District 12 and with Katniss. Tigress and her relationship with snow and so many things. So super, super fulfilling and fun and really exciting.
By the way, I hold out hope that this isn’t the end, because I hope there’s more to come.
Francis Lawrence: I hope there’s more to come, but that all depends on Suzanne. Yes, we have always said that it comes from Suzanne first and then we are there.
How important was it for you in the casting process to find someone that the audience could identify with, but also believe that they will go down this villainous path in the future?
Francis Lawrence: That’s very important, but honestly I think that was a bigger concern in adapting the book to the script, making sure that we got the characterization, the character’s storyline, and the characters’ journey right, right . So we set them up so that a character supports them and stands behind them, but leaves a kind of breadcrumb trail and understands that he still has this need for ambition, the need for power, the need for greed, right? So when it goes dark, I think people find that very satisfying. It feels believable, honest and true.
That is absolutely the case. Now can you talk to me about the challenges of creating temporal peace in the world of Panem? Because you mostly use convenient locations for that, right?
Francis Lawrence: Honestly, I found it less challenging and more fun. I think, A, I wanted to shoot in as many real locations as possible. And I worked with the production designer Uli Hanisch. He is a production designer based in Germany. And we wanted to research where we could find the best locations for all of this. And our reference was, so to speak, the Berlin of the reconstruction period, i.e. around 1945-46, directly after the Second World War.
For this reason we shot mainly in Berlin and I had some filming experience there. Since he is based there, we found the perfect arena in Poland. And so we found just incredible places to shoot and then sometimes add digitally, but at least we’re in real places. The actors had real things to interact with in real environments that were immersive.
I love the character Lucy Gray and I think Rachel Zegler can do anything. What did she bring to the role that wasn’t on the page?
Francis Lawrence: Well, I think she brought a lot of what we needed to the page, which was all the different facets that we needed for Lucy Gray. Lucy Gray is very different from Katniss Everdeen. She’s a performer, she’s charismatic, she’s kind of effervescent. She’s a little mysterious, a little moody. She knows how to manipulate, she is more of a flirter, she is an extrovert. She and Katniss are both survivors of Smart, they just approach things differently.
So she was able to do all of that. There is a big musical element in this film and she has a phenomenal voice. And that’s something that she really brought with her and was incredible to listen to every day. And she says that live on set. She didn’t lip sync to pre-recordings or anything. In every scene you see her singing in the film, she was singing live.
Oh, that’s incredible. Now I know you are a fan of this franchise, just like me. So if there was a prequel or sequel in your opinion, where would you like to see it? And is there a character that you, as a fan, would like to focus on?
Francis Lawrence: No, I know. I mean, it’s funny because what I really like about it is that Suzanne always kind of writes according to the theme, right? She chooses a topic to write about and then figures out the characters and the moments in the place in the world she wants to tell the story about.
And I really appreciate that. And without that, I don’t know, it seems kind of superficial. That’s why I always look for Suzanne to find what she has something to say about and then build a story around it. And that’s exactly what she did here and that’s why we’ve been waiting for her to come out with the book.
Yes, I actually think this film also does a fantastic job of introducing the audience into this world without knowing anything else about it and you can dive right in. I think he’s doing a great job of that.
Francis Lawrence: Thank you. Yes, I mean, we designed it so that it can stand on its own. You wouldn’t have to read the first books or see the first movies, you could just show up and meet these characters and experience this movie and it would be a satisfying experience.
About The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Tells the origin story of future President Coriolanus Snow as he oversees District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird at the 10th Annual Hunger Games.
Check back to read our other interview with Nina Jacobson.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hits theaters November 17th.
Source: Screen Rant Plus
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Release date: November 17, 2023
Director: Francis Lawrence
Pour: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage, Josh Andrés, Josh Andrés Rivera, Viola Davis
Duration: 157 minutes
Genres: Action, adventure, drama
Authors: Michael Lesslie, Michael Arndt, Suzanne Collins
Studio(s): Color Force, Lionsgate
Sales partner: Lionsgate
Continuation(s): The Hunger Games, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Franchise(s): The hunger Games
Source : screenrant.com