The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the prequel to The Hunger Games, has cast Tom Blyth, best known for Billy the Kid and The Gilded Age.
According to Variety, the actor will play the young President Coriolanus Snow in the Lionsgate feature film. The character was originally portrayed by Hollywood veteran Donald Sutherland in the four-part film franchise based on the Suzanne Collins series of novels.
The names of other cast members will be announced later.
The film is based on the 2020 book of the same name, which is set decades before the adventures of Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games movies. The original movies also starred Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, and Elizabeth Banks.
Hunger Games veteran Francis Lawrence is returning to direct the upcoming movie, which is set to begin production later this year.
Michael Arndt, who wrote the second chapter of the Catching Fire franchise and had intended to write the screenplay, has handed over his duties to Michael Lesslie.
The prequel story takes place when 18-year-old Snow is chosen to be a mentor during the 10th Hunger Games, a televised event in which teenagers are chosen by lottery to fight to the death.
Calling Blyth “an explosive rising talent,” Erin Westerman, president of production for Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said the actor was the perfect choice for this lead role.
“Tom’s performance will fulfill and disrupt everything you think you know about Coriolanus Snow. He is a tremendous talent that will show why Snow always comes out on top,” added producer Nina Jacobson.
Director Lawrence said he is confident Blythe will be able to play the multi-layered role of Snow.
“Coriolanus Snow is many things: a survivor, a loyal friend, a killer, a boy who falls in love quickly, and an ambitious young man to the core. Tom’s version of the character showed us all the complex ambiguities of this young man as he transforms into the tyrant he would become.” The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is scheduled for release on November 17, 2023.