Tom Blyth, who stars in Epix’s Western series Billy the Kid, is the first actor to officially sign up for Lionsgate’s prequel to The Hunger Games, the studio announced Monday.
The company’s Hunger Games franchise had earned over $3 billion globally when it wrapped up in 2014, and it is now looking to extend the lifespan with the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ latest novel in the dystopian series, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Francis Lawrence, who directed three of the four Hunger Games movies — Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One, and Mockingjay Part Two — is back in the helmer’s seat with franchise producer Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson back as producers. Lawrence is also producing.
The logline, per the studio: 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.
Blyth will play the young Snow, who was portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the original movies.
“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 Lawrence in a statement. “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.”
Said Jacobson: “Tom’s performance will both fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow. He’s a tremendous talent who will show why Snow always lands on top.”
The role is big opportunity for Blyth, who recently appeared in HBO’s The Gilded Age. The first Hunger Games platformed a rising Jennifer Lawrence into a global superstar and also blew strong winds for co-stars as such as Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth for years afterwards. With the property continuing to be a best-seller, and Songbirds and Snakes also being a No. 1 best-seller, the interest in the movie could prove high. Nov. 17, 2023, is the scheduled release date for the prequel.
“Tom Blyth is an explosive rising talent whose mesmerizing and charismatic presence makes him an exciting actor and perfect for this leading role,” stated Lionsgate’s motion picture group president, Erin Westerman.
Blyth is repped by Gersh, United Agents, MJ Management and Sloane Offer.