Haley Bennett as Roxanne, and Peter Dinklage as Cyrano in Joe Wright’s 'Cyrano.'

(L to R) Haley Bennett as Roxanne, and Peter Dinklage as Cyrano in Joe Wright’s
'Cyrano,'a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. Photo credit: Peter Mountain. © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Shooting is underway on the prequel movie set in ‘The Hunger Games’ universe, ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, but that isn’t stopping fresh casting news from being confirmed.

Peter Dinklage, the veteran of such huge genre projects as ‘Game of Thrones’, the ‘X-Men’ movies and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is the latest recruit for the movie. He’ll play Dean Casca Highbottom, who runs the training academy in Panem and is one of the architects of the games.

The story, based on Collins’ prequel novel, is set roughly 60 years before the events in the original book trilogy. It finds 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as the last hope for his fading lineage, a once-proud family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol.

With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow is alarmed when he is assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), the girl tribute from impoverished District 12.

But, after Lucy Gray commands all of Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive will ultimately reveal who is a songbird, and who is a snake.

Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies based on Suzanne Collins’ bestselling book series (‘Catching Fire’, ‘Mockingjay - Part 1’ and Mockingjay - Part 2’) is back behind the camera for this new one, which has seen script work from Collins, Michael Arndt and, more recently, Michael Lesslie.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence in 2012's 'The Hunger Games.'

“Dean Highbottom is one of the most powerful people in Snow’s life. 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,” says Lawrence in a statement.

“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. Peter is not just a fan favorite actor who brings a commanding presence to every part he plays,” adds Nathan Kahane, President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group. “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.”

Dinklage is just the latest piece of casting for this movie. Others have included Hunter Schafer, who plays Tigris Snow, while Jason Schwartzman is Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman, the host of the 10th games and ancestor to Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci in the original movies).

And there has been a wave of mentors and tributes brought aboard including Irene Boehm, Cooper Dillon, Luna Kuse, Kjell Brutscheidt, Dimitri Abold, Athena Strates, Dakota Shapiro, George Somner, Jerome Lance, Ashley Liao, Knox Gibson, Mackenzie Lansing, Aamer Husain, Vaughan Reilly, Nick Benson, Laurel Marsden, Lilly Cooper, Luna Steeples, Hiroki Berrecloth,
Max Raphael,Zoe Renee, Ayomide Adegun, Kaitlyn Akinpelumi, Sofia Sanchez and Amélie Hoeferle.

‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ will be in theaters on November 17th next year.