Meet the new mastermind of The Hunger Games. Viola Davis joined the cast of prequel flick The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Davis will play Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. She joins previously announced cast members Tom Blyth (Coriolanus Snow), Rachel Zegler (Lucy Gray Baird), and Peter Dinklage (Casca Highbottom).

“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,” said Lionsgate President Nathan Kahane.

Like the previous films, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will draw on the YA novels by Suzanne Collins. Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four original Hunger Games films, returns to helm the prequel.

“Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure,” said Lawrence. Jacobson adds, “From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr. Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role. 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.”    

Here’s the official synopsis of the film from Lionsgate:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows Coriolanus Snow years before he would become the tyrannical leader of Panem. 18-year-old 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.   

Davis will next appear in The Woman King, which will debut at TIFF soon. She will also reprise her role as Amanda Waller in DC’s Black Adam in October.   

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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