Hunger Games’ director says Tom Blyth ‘caught me off guard’ as Coriolanus Snow

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson’s performances as Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark outlined the unique Hunger Video games films. However the prequel film, set 64 years earlier than Katniss and Peeta’s story, wanted a brand new set of actors who might maintain their very own.

The Hunger Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is an origin story for Panem’s dictator, President Coriolanus Snow. It takes followers again to a time when Coriolanus was simply an formidable younger pupil who had not but turn out to be the cutthroat politician we see in the primary books and films. His story is entwined with that of Lucy Grey Baird, the District 12 Tribute he’s assigned to mentor, whose pure aptitude for showmanship and fascinating songs encourage him to show the brutal Hunger Video games into extra of a flashy spectacle.

Director Francis Lawrence tells Polygon the filmmakers have been in search of recent faces when it got here to the lead roles. Lots of actors auditioned for the position of Snow, particularly, however Lawrence says Billy the Child star Tom Blyth instantly “blew everybody out of the water.”

“Part of it is physical,” he admits. “He has those great blue eyes — [you] could see in his face, Okay, I could buy that maybe 65 years later, he could turn into Donald Sutherland.

Picture: Lionsgate Movies

Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow, dressed in the crisp uniform of a Peacekeeper in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Picture: Lionsgate

Nevertheless it wasn’t nearly how feasibly Blyth might appear like a youthful Donald Sutherland. Whoever landed the position needed to stroll a line between being charming and conniving, somebody you wish to root for, but aren’t stunned once they find yourself turning right into a villain. Blyth introduced his appearing chops to the position, and Lawrence was regularly impressed all through filming.

“Telling a story about a young man’s descent into darkness, you have to have somebody that can earn the audience’s empathy, but then believably also descend into that darkness,” Lawrence says. “[Blyth] is really, really good. This sort of charisma continued to astound me. His sense of control in his performance and nuance also astounded me. That really caught me off guard and surprised me in a fantastic way.”

Blyth stood out in auditions, however when it got here to casting District 12 songstress Lucy Grey, Lawrence had a primary selection in thoughts from the get-go. Rachel Zegler’s appearing and singing in Steven Spielberg’s West Facet Story made her Lawrence’s prime contender for the position.

“So she and I met, I think, for four hours or something the first time, and had a great chat about the book and about the character and about the music,” Lawrence says. “I just knew she was the one right away.”

Lucy Gray looks shocked as she walks forward in a crowd

Photograph: Murray Shut/Lionsgate

An enormous a part of Lucy Grey’s character includes music. She’s a member of the Covey, a touring band of musicians impressed by comparable performing teams from turn-of-the-century America. Her passionate outburst of song at her Reaping instantly sparks one thing in Snow, who acknowledges that her performing expertise is essential to getting her to outlive the video games. So Lucy Grey’s singing needed to be life-savingly good and slot in a particular style.

“I had high expectations, because I think she’s a great actor and a great singer, but the singing blew me away,” Lawrence gushes. “The fact that she could shift right from theatrical kind of singing — something you would do in West Side Story or on stage — into the exact genre of country bluegrass that we were doing in this movie that feels like it’s from the turn of the century to the [19]20s-30s Appalachia. To be able to hit that style and do it so effortlessly, and sing live every day, that was pretty mind-blowing.”

The Hunger Video games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is out in theaters now.

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