Viola Davis Will be Villainous in the ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel
The Oscar winner is aboard to play a scheming games creator in the new movie, set decades before the current story.
While Viola Davis is more usually seen as a heroic or good-hearted character, we have seen her channel a darker side in the past: ‘Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller, for example. Or the crafty Annalise Keating on TV’s ‘How to Get Away with Murder’.
‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ is set years before the story of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen. In this throwback to an earlier era of the Hunger Games, the new narrative follows 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) long before he’s the cunning president of post-apocalyptic nation Panem.
Snow is 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 a snake.”
Dr. Gaul will serve as the main antagonist for the movie, a games-maker who designs the 10th annual games.
Francis Lawrence is directing the movie now from a script by Michael Lesslie. The ever-expanding cast also includes Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Ashley Liao, Sofia Sanchez, Mackenzie Lansing, Zoe Renee, George Somner, Isobel Jesper Jones, Lilly Maria Cooper, Max Raphael, Dakota Shapiro, Vaughan Reilly, Nick Benson, Knox Gibson, Amélie Hoeferle and Cooper Dillon.
“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,” says Lionsgate motion picture group president Nathan Kahane. “Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story.”
“From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr. Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role,” comments franchise producer Nina Jacobson. “A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become. We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role.”
“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,” enthuses Lawrence.
‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ is scheduled for release in theaters on November 17th, 2023.