Rachel Zegler, who broke out in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, has joined the cast of Lionsgate’s upcoming Hunger Games prequel film, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Zegler will play Lucy Gray Baird, District 12’s girl tribute for the 10th Annual Hunger Games. She joins Tom Blyth (Billy the Kid and The Gilded Age), who was cast as Coriolanus Snow in May 2022.
The upcoming film is based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 book and is set decades before Katniss Everdeen’s adventures in The Hunger Games. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes centers on “a young 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, an ambitious boy who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the dystopian country of Panem. In the story, the young Snow sees a chance for a change in fortunes when he is chosen to be mentor to Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from impoverished District 12, during the 10th Hunger Games.”
On Zegler’s casting, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group president Nathan Kahane said:
“When you read Suzanne’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility, and fiercely powerful, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of those skills — she is the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray.”
Franchise director Francis Lawrence added:
“Like everybody, I first saw Rachel Zegler in West Side Story, and like everybody, I knew I was watching a star who would command the screen for a generation. Lucy Gray is a perfect match for her as an actress: the character is bold, independent and defiant, but also vulnerable, emotional and loving. Rachel will make this character unforgettable.”
Zegler will be seen next in Shazam! Fury of the Gods later this year. She also recently wrapped filming on Disney’s live-action Snow White remake, where she played the titular princess.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will open in theaters on November 17, 2023.
What do you think of Rachel Zegler playing Lucy Gray Baird? Share your thoughts with us down in the comments!