Josh Andrés Rivera to Star in Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games” Prequel, “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

It’s Games on for Josh Andrés Rivera

The 27-year-old Latino actor has joined the growing ensemble cast of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games prequel, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Josh Andrés RiveraRivera will reunite with his West Side Story co-star Rachel Zegler, one of the film’s leads

The prequel centers on 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who as we know will become the tyrannical President of Panem. He 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 (Zegler), 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.

Rivera will play Sejanus Plinth, a close friend of young Coriolanus Snow, and the mentor to a tribute from District 2.

Other castmembers include Jerome Lance who will play Marcus, the tribute from District 2. Ashley Liao will play Clemensia Dovecote, one of Coriolanus’s closest friends and mentor to a tribute from District 11. Knox Gibson will play Bobbin, tribute from District 8; Mackenzie Lansing will play Coral, tribute from District 4; while Aamer Husain will play Felix Ravinstill, the mentor to a tribute from District 11.

Francis Lawrence is returning to the franchise to direct for a theatrical worldwide release on November 17, 2023. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson are also returning to produce for the franchise with Lawrence. Author Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller are executive producers. Michael Lesslie wrote the latest draft off Collins and Michael Arndt’s previous script based on the author’s bestselling novel.

Rivera played Chino in Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning adaption of West Side Story. Rivera will next appear in Susanna Fogel’s adaptation of Cat Person, based on Kristen Roupenian’s buzzy short story published in The New Yorker. He shares the screen with Nicholas Braun, Emilia Jones and Geraldine Viswanathan.

Rivera was a series lead in the HBO Max pilot Vegas High, directed by Gillian Robespierre and produced by Michael Showalter.

He performed in the original company on the first national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton.

Rachel Zegler to Star in “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

It’s (hunger) game on for Rachel Zegler

The 21-year-old half-Colombian American Golden Globe-winning actress/singer and West Side Story star has joined the cast of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, the highly anticipated prequel to Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games

Rachel Zegler,Zegler is joining the Francis Lawrence-directed film in the lead female role of Lucy Gray Baird.

She joins recently announced Tom Blyth, who’s playing the young Coriolanus Snow, that role made famous by Donald Sutherland in the original trilogy.

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.

“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,” said Nathan Kahane, president, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.

“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,” said Lawrence. “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.”

“Lucy Gray is an incredibly complex character, a performer who has to use every skill in her arsenal to survive. Our casting team, Deb Zane and Dylan Jury, spearheaded an exhaustive search, reading hundreds of actors in search of our perfect Lucy Gray. That search ended when Rachel Zegler blew the roof off with her depth and breadth of talent as an actor, singer, and performer. Rachel is utterly compelling; just like Lucy Gray, her voice and charisma command the stage while her inner strength and humanity transform those around her,” said Hunger Games producer Nina Jacobson.

Lionsgate recently announced that the prequel will hit theaters around the world on November 17, 2023.

The entire Hunger Games franchise has grossed more $3 billion worldwide.

Lawrence previously helmed The Hunger Games films Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part One, and Mockingjay Part Two. Jacobson is producing with her partner Brad Simpson, along with Lawrence. Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller will serve as executive producers.

The latest draft of the screenplay is by Michael Lesslie, who is building on the work of Collins and Michael Arndt. The screenplay is based on Collins’ bestselling novel.

Zegler was lauded with Best Actress wins from the National Board of Review and the Golden Globes for her turn as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. She is next set to appear in DC Comics’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods alongside Zachary Levi, Helen Mirren, and Lucy Liu, which debuts in December.

She is currently filming the title role in Disney’s live action Snow White, directed by Marc Webb.