Dinklage will star opposite Tom Blyth as young Coriolanus Snow, Rachel Zegler as tribute Lucy Gray Baird and Hunter Schafer as Tigris Snow.
The Lionsgate movie is based on the 2020 book of the same name, which is set decades before the adventures of Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games.” The prequel story takes place as an 18-year-old Snow — who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the dystopia known as Panem — is chosen to be mentor during the 10th Hunger Games, a televised event in which teenagers are chosen via lottery to fight to the death. Highbottom is the dean of the Academy, where Snow is a student.
“With production underway, we couldn’t be more excited about the way this cast has come together and thrilled to be welcoming Peter Dinklage to Panem,” Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. “Peter is not just a fan favorite actor who brings a commanding presence to every part he plays. He is one of the best actors alive. He will bring a formidable, charismatic authority to the important role of the dean of the Academy.”
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” will be helmed by Francis Lawrence, who previously directed the franchise’s “Catching Fire,” “Mockingjay — Part 1” and “Mockingjay — Part 2.” Michael Lesslie wrote the screenplay.
“Dean Highbottom is one of the most powerful people in Snow’s life,” Lawrence said. “As the austere and vindictive face of the games, he sets the rules that will determine every aspect of Coriolanus’s fate. I’m thrilled that Peter will be bringing him to life.”
Franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson will oversee the latest “Hunger Games” installment, along with Lawrence. Author Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers.
“I cannot think of an actor more perfectly suited to inhabit the role of Highbottom,” Jacobson said. “As the man credited with conceiving the Hunger Games and the Dean of the Academy, Casca Highbottom is a character with secrets. Peter’s magnetism, intensity and dark humor will infuse him with the intelligence, depth and pathos that the role demands.”
“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” debuts in theaters worldwide on Nov. 17, 2023. Deadline first reported that Dinklage had been cast in the film.