Some good news is coming out of Hollywood if you’re a fan of The Hunger Games series. The long-anticipated prequel movie is moving forward! Lionsgate recently announced this as the trilogy’s author, Suzanne Collins, is getting set to release The Ballad of Songbirds and Snake. The new book is a novel set in the Hunger Games universe.
The planned movie prequel is being directed by Francis Lawrence from a script by screenwriter Michael Arndt. It will be produced by Nina Jacobson. The three teamed up for the four-movie adaptation of Collins’ earlier Hunger Games novels – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay (which was two movies). This comes as no surprise as the four movies combined to bring in nearly $3 billion at the box office.
While there was no cast announcement for the prequel, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake said in a statement via the The Hollywood Reporter, “Suzanne’s new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters.”
The original film in the series, The Hunger Games, was directed by Gary Ross and set some pretty lofty opening day records. It also saw the rise of superstar actress Jennifer Lawrence, who played Katniss Everdeen. The planned prequel looks to focus on a much younger Coriolanus Snow, who was played by Donald Sutherland in the four previous movies before he became the President of Panem. It will follow Snow and his family, who have fallen on hard times, as he has been given a chance to change fortunes when he is chosen to mentor at the Tenth Hunger Games. He becomes bitter when he finds out he is assigned to mentor a girl tribute from the impoverished District 12.
The prequel has been long talked about by Lionsgate. The studio also earlier licensed the film property to live concerts and theme parks that will be built around the movie franchise. The series, besides Lawrence and Sutherland, also starred Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, and Stanley Tucci.
Author Collins will also be on board as an executive producer and expressed her excitement about the new project through her own statement. “Lionsgate has always been the cinematic home of The Hunger Games, and I’m delighted to be returning to them with this new book,” she said. “From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honoring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera. It’s such a pleasure to be reuniting with Nina, Francis, and Michael to adapt the novel to the screen, and having them share their remarkable talents, once again, with the world of Panem. I look forward to collaborating with them and all at Lionsgate as we bring The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes to theaters worldwide.”
Collins will also pen the treatment for the movie with the screenwriting duties once again falling to Arndt, who has won an Oscar for the movie Little Miss Sunshine and was a co-screenwriter on Catching Fire.
With the world shut down, there is no start date for the production, nor is there a release date but look for both to come in the near future.