The odds are back in their favor.
Francis Lawrence, who helmed three of Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” movies, is returning to direct a feature adaptation of author Suzanne Collins’ “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” a prequel novel to Collins’ bestselling “Hunger Games” trilogy. Original producer Nina Jacobson is also returning, with her Color Force partner Brad Simpson, and Michael Arndt (“Catching Fire”) will adapt the screenplay from a treatment written by Collins, who will also serve as an executive producer.
Lionsgate — which produced Collins’ novels into four blockbuster films from 2012–2015, grossing $2.97 billion worldwide — announced the creative team for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” on Tuesday.
No cast or release date was announced.
“‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ is creatively thrilling and takes this world to complex new dimensions that open up amazing cinematic possibilities,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake. “We’re thrilled to reunite this filmmaking team with this very unique franchise, and we can’t wait to begin production.”
Set roughly 64 years before “The Hunger Games,” “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who would eventually rise to become the authoritarian ruler of the dystopian nation of Panem, and the central villain of the original “Hunger Games” series. In Collins’ prequel, Snow is chosen to be a mentor for the 10th annual Hunger Games — for a young girl from District 12, the future home of Katniss Everdeen. The premise of the prequel proved to be controversial with some fans after an excerpt from the novel appeared on EW.com in January.
Scholastic will publish “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” on May 19 in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.