Viola Davis is set to join The Hunger Games franchise, playing the head gamemaker in the upcoming prequel.
The Hollywood Reporter exclusively reported that The Woman King star has joined the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, to play Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the head gamemaker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. She joins a cast that already includes Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera and Peter Dinklage.
Gaul's Hunger Games map will be where Zegler's character, Lucy Gray Baird, must battle to the death as she represents for her District 12.
Blyth, meanwhile, plays a young Coriolanus Snow in the years before he ever became President. Dinklage will play Casca Highbottom, the dean of the Academy, where Snow attends.
'The Hunger Games' franchise director Francis Lawrence will direct and produce.
He revealed his excitement at working with Davis in a statement with Lionsgate motion picture group president Nathan Kahane and franchise producer Nina Jacobson.
“Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable,” said Lawrence. “Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure.”
Kahane said, "'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. 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,” said 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.”
The film will revolve around Snow’s growth as his family’s last chance for prestige. In his bid for power, he has to mentor Lucy Gray and quickly realizes she could be an asset to his plans.
According to the official description:
“Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus 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, 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.”