The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in development by Lionsgate
Lionsgate has announced that the Hunger Games prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins (awaiting publication on May 19th) is in development. While admittedly not many will be shocked by this news, given that the original series of films amassed over 2 billion dollars at the box office against a 495 million budget, fans were curious as to who would lead the project.
Francis Lawrence, the director behind Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films and Nina Jacobson, the producer of all the original movies, are set to be reuniting for the latest in the Hunger Games franchise. The creative team is further complete with Michael Arndt, one of the Catching Fire writers, to adapt the screenplay. This news thrills me most as Catching Fire recently placed very high on my raking of book to movie adaptations due to its screenplay. It stayed faithful to the source material and so it's encouraging to hear that Ardnt will be once again tasked with adapting a Hunger Games novel. Suzanne Collins will act as Executive Producer.
Joe Drake, chairman of Lionsgate, commented the following about his announcement of the motion picture:
"Suzanne's new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from TheHunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is creatively thrilling and takes this world to complex new dimensions that open up amazing cinematic possibilities. We're thrilled to reunite this filmmaking team with this very unique franchise, and we can't wait to begin production."
The story will follow an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow who has his sights set on being a mentor for the tenth Hunger Games as a way to help his family's hardship. His plans are however uprooted when he is assigned to work with a tribute from the impoverished District 12.
While the announcement of this story caused an uproar of controversy within the fandom, a villain origin story is not a new concept. If anything, the novel will be refreshing to publishing as not many novels in the young adult genre follow the point of view of an antagonist. While there is no doubt about it that President Snow is one of the cruellest characters to exist, I can't help but be fascinated by what drove his entire character arc in the Hunger Games. Often audiences misinterpret someone saying that they 'like a character' to mean they agree with their actions. On the contrary, you can hate their intentions and actions but appreciate the way they were written and I think that applies here. I'm not setting out to become sympathetic with President Snow but rather learn about what sparked his tyrannical ruling of Panem.
Since no date has been set for the movie, you can order the book from the following retailers to read it ahead:
Audible (free first audiobook with my link)
Disclaimer: Retail links above are affiliate links.
UPDATE: Check out my book talk of the book, with a spoiler-free review at the start and a full plot reaction.