Rachel Zegler Offers a Behind-The-Scenes Look at “Hunger Games” Prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

It’s opening Games for Rachel Zegler.

The 21-year-old Colombian Golden Globe-winning actress has offered a first look at the set of the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes via her official TikTok account.

Rachel Zegler, The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesIn the video posted to her account, Zegler gives viewers a tour of the set for the film, which is based on Suzanne Collins’ book of the same name.

The film stars Tom Blyth as a young Coriolanus Snow — who eventually grows up to become menacing antagonist President Snow in the original trilogy — who is chosen to mentor Zegler’s Lucy Gray Baird during the tenth Hunger Games. Francis Lawrence is set to direct.

“Hello, TikTok, I’m Rachel Zegler, and I’d like to show you the set of Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the Snow White and West Wide Story actress says at the beginning of the video.

A montage of quick shots reveals what appears to be a schoolroom set for the Academy, the Capitol’s elite high school. In one shot, students dressed in pleated blood-red uniforms sit on circular white risers.

The footage also features Peter Dinklage, who plays Academy dean Casca Highbottom, dressed in an all-black ensemble, in addition to a clip of Blyth and Ashley Liao — who plays Clemensia Dovecote — dancing in their school uniforms.

“Let’s meet some of the cast,” Zegler says in the TikTok. “I see here, the lead of the film, Tom Blyth. Do you want to be in the video?” she asks the actor, who is sipping coffee at the exact moment she asks the question. Blyth gives the camera a mock glare, then tosses the coffee cup at the camera.

Zegler then shows viewers “Video Village,” which she explains is where the “director, producers, writers, dialect coaches, they all watch.”

“You can actually catch some of them in action right now,” she adds as the camera pans over to people sitting in chairs and zooms in on one of the producers working.

Zegler also introduces viewers to Josh Andrés Rivera, who plays Sejanus Plinth, one of Coriolanus Snow’s friends and a mentor to the District 2 male tribute. “And over here we have my least favorite person on set, Josh Rivera,” she says jokingly. Zegler and Rivera starred together in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story — Zegler played Maria, while Rivera played Chino.

“What’s going on, it’s Josh Rivera coming at you live,” Rivera says, taking off his sunglasses and squinting at the camera.

The video concludes with Zegler re-introducing herself. “I’m Rachel Zegler, and I play Lucy Gray Baird in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Thanks for joining me.”

The TikTok was shot by Reece Feldman, also known by @guywithamoviecamera, a TikTok creator with 1.1 million followers known for posting behind-the-scenes content of shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and films like Not Okay.

Cast members not featured in the behind-the-scenes footage include Hunter Schafer, who plays Coriolanus Snow’s cousin Tigris Snow, and Viola Davis, who was cast as Volumnia Gaul, the creator of the Hunger Games.

Click here to see the full TikTok video.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes premieres in theaters on Nov. 17, 2023.

Ximena Lamadrid Named to Variety’s 2022 “10 Actors to Watch” List

Ximena Lamadrid’s star is on the rise…

The 26-year-old Mexican actress has been named to Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch list, the entertainment industry magazine’s list of thespians who are experiencing a major breakthrough on screen.

Ximena LamadridLamadrid is being recognized for her performance in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s acclaimed new film Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths.

Acting has always been in Lamadrid’s blood. But it wasn’t until age 5, when she rejected a role in a school play, that she experienced an epiphany.

“It was that ‘no’ that made me realize it’s a ‘yes’ for me, that for the rest of my life I’d be chasing this amazing dream.” She quickly corrects herself, “Well, what began as a dream, but no longer is a dream. It’s a reality.”

After roles in Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks and the series Who Killed Sara?, Lamadrid plays a pivotal part in Iñárritu’s Bardo as Camila, the loving daughter of a man caught in the throes of an existential crisis.

She concedes her own history — being born in Mexico, growing up in Dubai and studying her craft in New York City — greatly colored her character’s experience.

“It feels like the universe and Alejandro wrote this for me,” she says,adding: “[Camila] has just graduated from university and is figuring it out. As soon as I graduated, I was figuring it out and came back to Mexico — and it connected. I saw all of the love, warmth and everything I had missed about my country all these years.”

The ability to tackle this role has only furthered her confidence. “As an actor, I have to surrender and trust that it’s going to show up, that everything is going to come out, which it did.” She now has her sights set on the literary world, seeking a publisher for her hybrid poetry-memoir Tulip Season. “I want to make this a very big, beautiful first book.”

Variety’s alumni group of 10 Actors to Watch includes more than 35 Oscar winners and nominees including Mahershala Ali, Adam Driver, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Lupita Nyong’o.

This year’s honorees will be feted at a brunch on October 16 at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

Alice Braga to Star in Robert Rodriguez’s Thriller “Hypnotic”

Alice Braga has landed a hypnotic role…

The 38-year-old Brazilian actress has joined the cast of Robert Rodriguez’s thriller Hypnotic, starring Ben Affleck.

Alice Braga

Cameras are set to roll starting on September 20, in Austin, Texas, after the film’s original start date in April 2020 was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then insurance issues.

Hypnotic will follow a detective who becomes entangled in a mystery involving his missing daughter and a secret government program while investigating a string of high-end crimes.  

The film is written by Sin City and Alita: Battle Angel filmmaker Rodriguez and Max Borenstein. Rodriguez, Studio 8 CEO Jeff Robinov and Studio8’s Guy Danella and John Graham are producing with Solstice.

Solstice has already sold the film well into international markets and is due to release Hypnotic in the U.S.

Braga will next be seen in The Suicide Squad, alongside Margo Robbie, Idris Elba and Viola Davis. She’s known for her starring role in the long-running USA Network series Queen Of The South, Luca Guadagnino’s limited series We Are Who We Are, and was one of the lead voices in Oscar-winning Pixar film Soul.

Christina Aguilera to Perform at the Soon-to-Reopen Hollywood Bowl This Summer

Christina Aguilera is preparing to bowl over fans this summer…

The Hollywood Bowl has announced it’s all-star lineup for its first summer season since the pandemic shutdown, which kicks off earlier than previously expected, with the 40-year-old half-Ecuadorian American singer set to perform.

Christina Aguilera

On May 15, conductor Gustavo Dudademal and the LA Philharmonic will be the first to return to the Bowl.

Viola Davis will appear alongside Dudamel and the LA Phil on July 15, on the heels of her Best Actress Oscar nomination for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, serving as the narrator of Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale, Peter and the Wolf.

She’ll be followed, on July 16 and 17, by five-time Grammy winner Aguilera.

Cynthia Erivo, who recently starred as Aretha Franklin in Nat Geo’s Genius: Aretha, is set to appear on July 30, performing tunes by Franklin, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and others, in addition to selections from her forthcoming debut album.

Meanwhile, recent Oscar winner H.E.R. will perform her first-ever concerts with an orchestra on August 13 and 14.

Over the course of the summer, the Bowl will also present a number of special events, including two Fireworks Spectaculars, on July 3 and 4, in observance of Independence Day. Those shows will feature appearances from disco-funk legends Kool & the Gang.

Other notable events include “The Princess Bride in concert” (July 31), “Sing-A-Long Sound of Music” (August 21), “Black Panther in concert” (September 10-12), and “Maestro of the Movies” (September 3-5). At the latter event, which serves as the Bowl’s annual celebration of film music, John Williams and David Newman will conduct the LA Phil.

Check out the full schedule for the summer by clicking here.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer to Star in Showtime’s Anthology Series “The First Lady”

It’s a special first (lady) for Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer.

The 43-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress has been cast in Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The First Lady.

Leslie Rodriguez Kritzer

Rodriguez Kritzer will star opposite Aya CashJake Picking , Cayden Boyd, Marc Hills, Ben Cook, Thomas E. Sullivan (Roswell, New Mexico) and Patrice Johnson Chevannes in the series, joining previously announced stars Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson.

The First Lady, created by Aaron Cooley and produced by Lionsgate Television and Showtime, is a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. Season 1 focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson), Betty Ford (Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Davis).

Previously announced cast also includes Lexi Underwood as Malia Obama, O-T Fagbenle as Barack Obama and Derek Cecil as Donald Rumsfeld.

Kritzer will play Martha Graham, an American modern dancer and choreographer whose technique reshaped American dance. Graham instructed Betty as a young and hopeful dancer living in New York City in 1939.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Among 300 BIPOC Artists to Sign Open Letter Demanding Change from the “White American Theater”

Lin-Manuel Mirandais addressing the “White American Theater.”

As protests and rallies against racial injustice and the killing of black lives continue throughout the world, the 40-year-old Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, singer, rapper, actor, producer, and playwright is bringing the theater world into the spotlight, to address systemic racism against black, indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).

Lin-Manuel Miranda 

An open letter addressed to “White American Theater” and demanding change was published earlier this week. 

The letter was filled with ugly truths that those who’ve worked in the theater industry have experienced for decades. 

Among the 300 BIPOCs who signed the letter were Miranda,Viola DavisSandra OhUzo AdubaSterling K. BrownCynthia ErivoYahya Abdul-Mateen IIDanai GuriraAndre HollandConrad RicamoraTanya SarachoAnika Noni RoseJessica HagedornLeslie Odom Jr.,Katori Halland others.

The letter bluntly calls out the industry: “We see you. We have always seen you. We have watched you pretend not to see us.”

“We have watched you exploit us, shame us, diminish us, and exclude us. We see you. We have always seen you. And now you will see us.”

It continues to drag theater’s history of tokenism, white privilege, patriarchy, blatant racism, bias and hypocrisy: “We have watched you amplify our voices when we are heralded by the press, but refuse to defend our aesthetic when we are not, allowing our livelihoods to be destroyed by a monolithic and racist culture.”

“Join us in demanding change for BIPOC theater artists at http://weseeyouWAT.com. #WeSeeYou #TomorrowTherellBeMoreOfUs,” Miranda tweeted, sharing the letter and a petition with everyone.

The open letter comes as the protests following the killing of George Floyd and other black lives continue around the globe. It also comes when there seems to be a reckoning in all industries when it comes to racial inequality. 

Colman Domingo Signs First-Look Deal with AMC Studios

It’s a new deal for Colman Domingo

The 50-year-old Guatemalan American actor, playwright and television/stage director has signed a first-look deal with AMC Studios, the studio behind Domingo’s zombie drama series Fear the Walking Dead.

Colman Domingo,

Domingo made his debut as Victor Strand in a two-episode guest arc during the first season of Fear the Walking Dead, a spinoff from The Walking Dead.

He was made a series regular at the start of Season 2. He made his directorial debut on the show and has directed two episodes to date.

“From the moment AMC viewers first saw Colman Domingo as the mysterious and dynamic Victor Strand in season one of Fear The Walking Dead,they haven’t been able to look away, and neither have we,” said Sarah Barnett, President of AMC Networks Entertainment Group & AMC Studios. “He has become a core character of the series and, as anyone who knows him knows, his talents go far beyond that one character in that one show. He is a writer, producer and performer who can move effortlessly between film, television and the stage and we are thrilled to be expanding our relationship with this extraordinary talent and individual through this first-look deal with AMC Studios.”

Domingo is currently in production on the upcoming sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead and stars in A24’s Zolawhich premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He’s also had a recurring role on HBO’s Euphoria and will be seen in Jordan Peele’s spiritual sequel to the 1992 gothic horror film CandyMan, as well as opposite Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in the Netflix film adaption of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,produced by Denzel Washington.

Domingo, 20-year veteran theater director, co-wrote the book for the Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and for the Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole  musical.

At AMC, he developed a series based on his play Dottwo years ago.

Domingo’s film acting credits also include Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could TalkSelma, Lee Daniels’ The Butler,  Steven Spielberg’s LincolnFirst Matchand Spike Lee’s Miracle At St. AnaRed Hook Summerand Passing Strange

Colman Domingo to Star in MGM & Jordan Peele’s “Candyman” Reboot

Colman Domingo has landed a sweet (but scary) role…

The 49-year-old Afro-Latino actor has been castin MGMand Jordan Peele’s forthcoming reboot of the classic horror film Candyman, which has begun principal photography in Chicago. 

Colman Domingo

Domingo will star opposite Nathan Stewart-Jarrett,Yahya Abdul-Mateen IIand Teyonah Parrisin the film.

The film will be directed by Nia DaCostaand will be a spiritual sequel to Benard Rose’s 1992 gothic horror movie, which was originally based on Clive Barker’s short story The Forbidden

The film will be shot entirely in Chicago and feature various locations throughout the city, including the neighborhood where the legend began: the now-gentrified North Side where the Cabrini-Green housing projects once stood.

The original movie followed the urban legend of the titular character and starred Tony Toddas Candyman, a former slave turned artist who fell in love and with a white woman and fathered a child during the late 1800s. Because of this forbidden relationship, his lover’s father hired a lynch mob to kill him. He was smeared with honey and bees attacked him. He was burned to death and his ashes were scattered upon what became the present-day the Cabrini-Green housing project. The story of his death became an urban legend and by saying his name five times in the mirror, he comes and murders you. The horror became popular among the masses and spawned two sequels.

Universal Pictureswill distribute Candymanglobally with the U.S. release date set for June 12, 2020.

Tony andLawrence Olivier-nominated actor and playwright, Domingo is known for his role as Victor Strand on Fear the Walking DeadHe also appears on HBO’s EuphoriaHe can next be seen in A24’s ZolaNoah Hawley’s Lucy in the Skyand The God Committeealongside Kelsey Grammarand Julia Stiles. He is currently filming Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomwith Viola Davisand Chadwick Boseman.

YouTube Star Johanna Colón to Star in Amazon Studios’ “Troupe Zero”

Johanna Colón is zeroing in on a Hollywood career…

The 9-year-old Latina dancer and YouTube sensation has joined the cast of Amazon Studios Troupe Zero, which also stars Viola Davis, Allison Janney, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Epps and Mckenna Grace.

Johanna Colón

A tutu-wearing Colon stole the show at her school’s dance recital at the age of 6, while performing to Aretha Franklin’s Respect, in a YouTube video that went viral.

The film is being directed by Bert & Bertie from a script by Beasts of the Southern Wild scribe Lucy Alibar. While no details have been released about the story, Todd Black, who produced Fences, the film which earned Davis the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, is producing the project for Amazon.

Colón previously had a small, guest-starring role in TBSThe Guest Book.

This time around, she plays a girls who never speaks but is a character known as Smash, a sidekick to another character named Hell-No. Smash is Hell No’s muscle, the lunch-stealing, bullying girl who joins a misfit Brownie troupe and then finds a sense of belonging.

ABC Renews Karla Souza’s “How to Get Away With Murder” for a Fifth Season

Karla Souza is still getting away with murder…

ABC has given a Season 5 pickup to its legal thriller drama How to Get Away With Murder, starring the 32-year-old actress.

Karla Souza

The renewal of the Shondaland drama was fully expected.

HTGAWM is the second longest-running Shondaland series, and it’s well received, earning lead star Viola Davis top awards including an Emmy.

Additionally, while a modest Live+Same Day performer (average 0.94 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 3.70 million viewers in Season 4, down by 28% and by 20%, respectively, compared to Season 3), it continues to be a big DVR gainer. Its Live+7 tally for Season 4 was 6.4 million viewers and a 2.0 in 18-49, ranking as ABC’s third highest-rated drama in the demo behind Grey’s Anatomy and The Good Doctor

Starring Davis, Souza, Billy Brown, Jack Falahee, Aja Naomi King, Matt McGorry, Conrad Ricamora, Charlie Weber and Liza WeilHow To Get Away With Murder revolves around the world of Middleton University Professor Annalise Keating (Davis). Murder, deception, fear and guilt bind her to her longtime associates and students. As the group struggles to move on following the death of one of their own, their past continues to haunt them.

How To Get Away With Murder is created and executive produced by Pete Nowalk, who also serves as showrunner.