'The Hunger Games' Prequel Casting: Viola Davis to Portray Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul

'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' will be released on Nov. 17, 2023.

Panem, you have your tributes! As Lionsgate continues to release updated information regarding the ensemble that will complete the world behind next year’s The Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, ET is keeping track of all the stars who will play the mentors, tributes and pivotal decision-makers in this new saga, set years before Katniss Everdeen entered the Hunger Games arena.

The upcoming film tells the origin story of the franchise’s dystopian president and ringleader, Coriolanus Snow, played by Tom Blyth, and friends and enemies that shaped him into the nefarious leader fans saw in the original trilogy.

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis will portray Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul. "Dr. Gaul is as cruel as she is creative and as fearsome as she is formidable. Snow’s savvy as a political operator develops in no small part due to his experiences with her as the games’ most commanding figure," director Francis Lawrence said of Davis' role in the movie.

Producer Nina Jacobson added, “From the beginning, Viola has been our dream for Dr. Gaul because of the finely layered intelligence and emotion she brings to every role. A brilliant and eccentric strategist, Gaul is instrumental in shaping a young Coriolanus Snow into the man he will become. We are incredibly fortunate to have an actor with Viola’s extraordinary range and presence to play this pivotal role.”

Game of Thrones fan favorite Peter Dinklage has been cast to play Casca Highbottom, dean of the Academy, who holds many secrets close to his vest.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Euphoria star Hunter Schafer will play Tigris Snow, cousin and confidante to Coriolanus, and his advisor in all matters -- from Coriolanus' role as a mentor to serving as the core of his moral compass.

Emma McIntyre/WireImage

Ms. Marvel's Lauren Marsden will play Mayfair Lipp, who places Lucy Gray’s name into contention for the tenth Hunger Games.

Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Covid and Coffee's Nick Benson star will play Jessup, tribute from District 12.

Kenneth Dolin

The Witcher's Lily Cooper will play Arachne Crane, mentor to a tribute from District 10.

ujonna Gift-Simms

The Red Rose actor, Hiroki Berrecloth, will play Treech, tribute from District 7.

HIROKI BERRECLOTH joins the cast of the Hunger Games

Luna Steeples will play Dill, tribute from District 11.

Megan Amber

West Side Story's Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Sejanus Plinth, the mentor to a tribute from District 2 and a close friend of young Snow.

Carlos E. Gonzalez

Jerome Lance will play Marcus, a tribute from the dystopian world’s District 2.

Michael Shelford, Courtesy Lionsgate

Mackenzie Lansing will play Coral, a tribute from District 4.

Jessica Osber, Courtesy Lionsgate

Knox Gibson will play Bobbin, tribute from District 8.

Dejan Arsovski, Courtesy Lionsgate

Aamer Husain will play Ravinstill, mentor to a tribute from District 11.

Curtis & Cort Photography, Courtesy Lionsgate

Ashley Liao will play Clemensia Dovecoat, a close friend of Coriolanus and mentor to a tribute from District 11.

Paul Smith, Courtesy Lionsgate

As previously announced, West Side Story's Rachel Zegler will play Lucy Gray Baird, the impoverished District 12 tribute that Coriolanus is assigned to mentor. Lucy is an orphan and a singer, who wows her mentor and eventually, viewers across Panem, with her impressive voice -- before proving in the Games that she's even more cunning than she seems. This also marks the second time Zegler and Rivera, her real-life boyfriend, are appearing in a film together.  

Referencing Rivera's casting news, Zegler wrote on her Instagram Story, "Never been prouder of someone in my life lemme tell you."

Getty Images

In a press release about the film's casting, the studio described its protagonists as such: "Eighteen-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."

Lawrence also noted in a previous statement, "Coriolanus Snow is many things – a survivor, a loyal friend, a cutthroat, a kid quick to fall in love, and a young man ambitious to his core. Tom's take on the character showed us all the complex ambiguities of this young man as he transforms into the tyrant he would become."

The film will be released Nov. 17, 2023. May the odds be ever in its favor.