Who Is Rachel Zegler Playing in The Hunger Games Prequel?
Fans started to speculate that the West Side Story actress nabbed a role in the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes — based on the book of the same name by Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins — in May 2022. Rumors started to swirl after Rachel tweeted, “Listen up … Can y’all grow restfully? Are you becoming an individual resting decisively?”
Eagle-eyed social media users were quick to decode her secret message. The first letter of each word in the Twitter post spelled out Lucy Gray Baird. One day later, the casting news was confirmed.
“It’s written in the stars,” the Hunger Games official Instagram account shared. “Rachel Zegler has been cast as Lucy Gray Baird in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Arriving in theaters November 2023.”
The New Jersey native reacted to her new role on Twitter, writing, “So much joy. I love movies. I cannot believe I get to make them. I am so thankful that this is my life. Thanks for being on this ride with me. See ya later.”
In January 2023, the actress revealed that she had actually almost turned down the role entirely.
“I was offered it in January of last year, after wanting it so badly. I didn’t audition, it was just, I got a call from my agent that was like, ‘Francis Lawrence wants you to do this,’ and I met with him for like three hours at the Soho Hotel in London, and then he told me that they were filming in Germany and in Poland,” the songstress recalled on the “Happy, Sad, Confused” podcast. I had just gotten to London and I wanted to disappear, because I was so far away from home for the first time ever and I was away from everybody that I knew and loved. And I said, ‘No.'”
However, the actress “regretted” turning it down and ended up getting the role.
What Is the Hunger Games Prequel About?
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes “will focus on Coriolanus Snow at age 18, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem. Young Coriolanus is handsome and charming, and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, he sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games, only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12,” per The Hollywood Reporter.
Actor Tom Blyth was cast in the role of Coriolanus Snow.
Who Is Lucy Gray Baird?
In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes novel, Lucy is the female tribute — and talented singer — who represented District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Throughout the book, she’s mentored by Coriolanus Snow, who believes she has the ability to win the Hunger Games — which she does.
“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,” director Francis Lawrence said in a statement, per Variety amid Rachel’s casting news. “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.”
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