Rachel Zegler has volunteered as tribute. The West Side Story breakout star will play Lucy Gray Baird in the prequel movie The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
Set decades before the original entries in the Hunger Games series, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes follows an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (The Gilded Age’s Tom Blyth) as he mentors the District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray. The film has a script from Hunger Games’ author Suzanne Collins, Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arendt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3), and Michael Lesslie (Assassin’s Creed). Francis Lawrence, who has helmed three of the four Hunger Games movies, returns to direct.
“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,” Lawrence said in a statement. “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.”
Up next for Zegler is Shazam! Fury of the Gods and Disney’s upcoming musical adaptation of Snow White, in which she’ll star as the titular heroine and face off against Gal Gadot’s Evil Queen.