Ziegler sparked speculation about her choice after tweeting on Monday night, “Listen…Can you grow in comfort? Are you becoming a decisively rested individual?” As Eagle fans pointed out, the first letter of each word in her tweet spells out the main character’s name, Lucy Gray Bird.
– Rachel Zeigler (she/her/her) (@rachelzegler) May 31, 2022
The film is adapted from Susan Collins’ 2020 book of the same name, which takes place decades before Katniss Everdeen’s adventures in “The Hunger Games.” This means that Jennifer Lawrence, who portrayed stardom as the Flaming Girl, did not appear in the prequel story. Instead, “Song of Songbirds and Snakes” focuses on Coriolanus Snow, an ambitious boy who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the miserable country of Panem. As previously announced, Tom Blyth (“Billy the Kid” and “The Gilded Age”) will play the role of Young Snow.
In the upcoming film, 18-year-old Snow is chosen to direct Lucy Gray, the homage to the female slump from District 12, during the tenth edition of The Hunger Games. As introduced in the “The Hunger Games” trilogy – which has been developed into four feature films – the televised barbarian event randomly selects two teenagers from each region to fight to the death. In the novel, humble Lucy Gray grabs everyone’s attention by singing during a harvest party. With her talent and charm, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor to win matches.
Given Lucy Gray’s vocal prowess, it’s no surprise that Zegler, who topped thousands to star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s popular remake of “West Side Story,” landed the lead role in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Zegler will next appear in “Shazam! Wrath of the Gods” alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu; And live “Snow White” from Disney.
“When you read Susan’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility, and strong, determined singing voice shine through. “Rachel embodies all of these skills — she’s the perfect choice for Lucy Gray,” said Nathan Kahan, president of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
“Hunger Games” veteran Frances Lawrence is back to direct the upcoming movie, which will begin production later this year. Michael Arndt, who wrote the second part of the series “Catching Fire”, was intended to write the script, but transferred the tasks to Michael Leslie (“Macbeth, starring Michael Fassbender).
“Like everyone else, I first saw Rachel Ziegler in West Side Story, and like everyone else, I knew I was watching a star who would run the screen for a generation,” Francis Lawrence said. “Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
Franchise producer Nina Jacobson and co-producer Brad Simpson will oversee the latest installment of The Hunger Games, along with Frances Lawrence. Collins, Tim Palin, and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers.
“Lucy Gray is an incredibly complex character, an artist who has to use every skill in her arsenal to stay alive,” Jacobson said. Our cast, Deb Zane and Dylan Jury, led an exhaustive search, reading through hundreds of actors in search of the perfect Lucy Gray. That search ended when Rachel Ziegler blew the ceiling with the depth and breadth of her talent as an actress, singer, and performer. Rachel is totally persuasive; Just like Lucy Gray, her voice and charisma control the stage while her inner strength and humanity transform those around her.”
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” will be released in theaters on November 17, 2023.
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