NEW YORK (TAUT) — Fresh off her breakthrough role in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” Rachel Zegler will star in the planned prequel to Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games.”
The studio announced Tuesday that Zegler will play Lucy Gray Baird in ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Serpents,’ an expansion to the ‘Hunger Games’ saga set decades before Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen adventures. . Katniss performed at the 74th Hunger Games; Baird will be part of the 10th Hunger Games.
Susan Collins, whose books have been adapted into the $3 billion hit franchise, released a prequel novel in 2020 on which “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is based. In the film, Lucy Gray Baird, a tribute from impoverished District 12, sings at a pivotal moment in the harvest ceremony. Zegler stars alongside Tom Blyth, who plays 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow.
“Our casting team, Deb Zane and Dylan Jury, conducted an exhaustive search, reading through hundreds of actors looking for our perfect Lucy Gray. That search ended when Rachel Zegler exploded with the depth and breadth of her talent as an actress, singer and performer,” producer Nina Jacobson said in a statement. “Rachel is utterly compelling; just like Lucy Grey, her voice and charisma dominate the stage as her inner strength and humanity transform those around her.
Lionsgate is due to release the film in theaters on November 17, 2023.