By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Viola Davies is the latest Hollywood star to join the cast of the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes.
The award-winning actress will play villainous Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul, in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel.
She joins Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth, who play Lucy Gray Baird and the young Coriolanus Snow respectively.
Game Of Throne star Peter Dinklage was also announced to be attached to the project, playing the role of Casca Highbottom, dean of the Academy.
The story is set many years before the events of the existing films, when Snow, who goes on to become the tyrannical president of Panem, is still a teenager.
With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, he is assigned to mentor Baird, an impoverished girl from District 12 – the area where Katniss Everdeen grows up years later.
But after Baird commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in his favour.
The film, produced by Lionsgate, will debut in cinemas worldwide on November 17 2023.
The addition of Davis to the cast was announced by Nathan Kahane, president of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group.
Paging Dr. Gaul! https://t.co/5VFwdsEoAC
— The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (@songbirdssnakes) August 15, 2022
“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,” said Kahane.
“Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story.”
Director Francis Lawrence added: “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.”