Suzanne Collins, author of the hugely successful Hunger Games series of novels, has confirmed that that the franchise’s new prequel The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes will be getting a big screen adaptation.
A new statement confirms that Francis Lawrence will be directing the new film, having previously taken the helm for Catching Fire and both parts of Mockingjay. Collins will act as an executive producer, and adapt the screenplay herself alongside co-screenwriter Michael Arndt.
Last year Collins announced a new book was on the way, due to publish next month on May 21. The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes is set 64 years prior to the events of the first Hunger Games story, and follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow – before he becomes the villainous President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland in the original film trilogy.
According to an excerpt previously pubished by Entertainment Weekly, Snow is “a teenager born to privilege but searching for something more, a far cry from the man we know he will become. Here, he’s friendly. He’s charming. And, for now anyway, he’s a hero.”
The new story is believed to be set around the 10th edition of the Hunger Games tournament, according to Empire, with a young Snow mentoring a female tribute from District 12. As such, Jennifer Lawrence is not expected to reprise her role as Katniss Everdeen.
“Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book,” a statement from Collins reads.
“From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honouring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera.
“It’s such a pleasure to be reuniting with Nina, Francis, and Michael to adapt the novel to the screen, and having them share their remarkable talents, once again, with the world of Panem.”
There’s no proposed release date yet – and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to affect filming schedules, fans could be waiting a while for their next cinematic journey to Panem.
After news of the prequel’s storyline were revealed earlier this year, fans made their feelings about The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes’ plot clear in a vociferous social media backlash (January 21).
The move has infuriated fans, with one writing: “I couldn’t be more disappointed by the next HUNGER GAMES being about fucking President Snow and trying to paint him as a ‘misunderstood hero’ are you kidding me? The very last thing I’m interested in is humanizing a fascist dictator because he has a tragic past.”