Viola Davis has joined the upcoming Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Davis is set to play the villain Dr. Volumnia Gaul, who will be the head game maker of the 10th annual Hunger Games. Viola will join the cast, which includes Tom Blyth, who plays Coriolanus Snow, and Rachel Zegler, who plays tribute Lucy Gray Baird. Directed by Francis Lawrence, who also directed three of the four Hunger Games movies, and will also produce alongside Nina Jacobson and her partner Brad Simpson.
“Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure,” said Lawrence in a statement.
Jacobson adds, “From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr. Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role. 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.”
Per the outlet, the prequel’s synopsis reads: “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 a snake.”
Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group president Nathan Kahane stated, “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.”
The almost EGOT-status Davis will also be seen in the upcoming The Woman King, which she also produced through her JuVee Productions. Other upcoming onscreen roles for her include her reprising role in Black Adam.