The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes Casts Young Coriolanus Snow

When we first met President Coriolanus Snow in "The Hunger Games," he was the tyrannical president of Panem and played by the brilliant Donald Sutherland. Now, the young "Coryo" Snow is heading to the big screen, with the Juilliard School graduate Tom Blyth taking on the role in "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes." Blyth currently stars as the titular lead on the Epix "Billy the Kid" series, but will have to trade his cowboy spurs for Sutherland's massive shoes. The film is based on Suzanne Collins' #1 New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, which serves as a prequel to the events of "The Hunger Games." Audiences will see an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, the last hope for the declining lineage of his once-proud family in the wake of The First Rebellion, the war in the Capitol led by District 13 that motivated the creation of The Hunger Games.

"The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" takes place 10 years after the war, with Snow assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird, the female tribute from District 12, the same district that would boast the revolutionary Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark over six decades later. Lucy Gray Baird is an immediate one to watch, as she sings during the reaping ceremony, which earns her all of the attention in Panem. Snow, tasked with leading her to victory, must now figure out a way to not only prove his value to the Capitol, but help Lucy survive the games despite her clear act of defiance.

The path to President Snow

Donald Sutherland is one of the world's greatest living actors, and finding someone to play the younger version of the infamously diabolical President Snow is a massive undertaking. However, Erin Westerman, president of Production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, believes they've found the right star. "Tom Blyth is an explosive rising talent whose mesmerizing and charismatic presence makes him an exciting actor and perfect for this leading role," said Westerman. 

"Coriolanus Snow is many things – a survivor, a loyal friend, a cutthroat, a kid quick to fall in love, and a young man ambitious to his core," said director Francis Lawrence. "Tom's take on the character showed us all the complex ambiguities of this young man as he transforms into the tyrant he would become."

We know that monsters aren't always born, sometimes they're made, and the eventual reveal of President Snow is no exception. "Tom's performance will both fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow," said producer Nina Jacobson. "He's a tremendous talent who will show why Snow always lands on top." Director Francis Lawrence also helmed "Catching Fire," "Mockingjay Part One," and "Mockingjay Part Two," so if anyone understands the world of "The Hunger Games," it's him. Michael Lesslie (Macbeth," "Assassin's Creed") has shaped the latest draft of the screenplay, building on the work of Suzanne Collins and Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine," "Catching Fire).

"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" will hit theaters on November 17, 2023 from Lionsgate.