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The Hunger Games prequel: Viola Davis joins star cast of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Oscar-winning actress will play Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul in the upcoming Lionsgate film

PTI Los Angeles Published 16.08.22, 05:06 PM
Viola Davis as Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul.

Viola Davis as Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul. @violadavis/Instagram

Oscar winner Viola Davis is the latest addition to the star cast of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, a prequel movie to The Hunger Games.

According to entertainment website Deadline, Davis will play Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul in the upcoming Lionsgate film.


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is the latest project in the dystopian young-adult franchise based on Suzanne Collins’ novels.

The film follows a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), years before he would become the tyrannical President of the fictional nation Panem, as he is chosen to be the mentor of the 10th Hunger Games, a televised event in which teenagers are chosen via lottery to fight till death.

Francis Lawrence, who helmed three of the four The Hunger Games films, is returning to direct the new movie.

“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,” the director said in a statement.

Besides Blyth, Davis joins already announced cast members Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andres Rivera, Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Aamer Husain, Hiroki Berrecloth and Peter Dinklage.

Nathan Kahane, Lionsgate Motion Picture group president, said the team is elated to have the acclaimed actress board the highly anticipated prequel film.

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,” added Kahane.

The film is backed by franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson, along with Lawrence.

“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,” said Jacobson.

Davis will next be seen in The Woman King, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

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