EXCLUSIVE: The Francis Lawrence directed Lionsgate prequel Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes continues to expand its ensemble cast with a third round of actors playing mentors and tributes from the Suzanne Collins’ YA novel.
Max Raphael will play Festus Creed, mentor to a tribute from District 4. Zoe Renee will play Lysistrata Vickers, mentor to a tribute from District 12. Ayomide Adegun will play Pliny “Pup” Harrington, mentor to a tribute from District 7. Kaitlyn Akinpelumi will portray Domita Whimsiwick, mentor to a tribute from District 10. Sofia Sanchez will play Wovey, tribute from District 8; while Amélie Hoeferle will play Vipsania Sickle, mentor to a tribute from District 7.
Logline for the prequel in the $3 billion-grossing franchise, which hits theaters on Nov. 17, 2023: 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Blyth), who we know ultimately becomes the tyrannical President of Panem, 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 approaching, 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.
Hunger Games filmmaker is directing off Michael Lesslie’s script based on the previous work by Collins and Michael Arndt. The franchise’s producer Nina Jacobson and her producing partner Brad Simpson are returning to the project, in addition, Lawrence is producing. Collins, Tim Palen, and Jim Miller are EPs. Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien are overseeing for Lionsgate.
Raphael is a British writer, filmmaker and actor, who has starred in Slaughterhouse Rulez, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and the recently released School’s Out Forever. His last project, A People’s Tapestry, is a collection of monologues about living in lockdown in collaboration with Drink The Ink and Nick Hern Books was completed last year. He is represented in the UK by A&J Artists and in the US by A3 Artists.
Renee recently starred opposite Regina Hall in the Amazon Studios thriller Master, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. She can be seen next in Disney+’s new high school basketball story Chang Can Dunk, set to drop in 2023. Renee is best known for her breakout role in the critically acclaimed festival feature Jinn where she played Summer. She followed Jinn with the motion picture indie Gully opposite Kelvin Harrison Jr., Amber Heard, and Terrance Howard. She is represented by PANTHEON, Elevate Entertainment, and Meyer & Downs.
Adegun, born and raised in South London, is a Nigerian-British actor who trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. During his final year at drama school he booked a series regular role opposite Mel Gibson in The Continental, produced for Starz by Lionsgate Television, playing the younger version of Lance Reddick’s iconic character Charon from the John Wick franchise. He is repped by Hamilton Hodell and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
Akinpelumi, a Manchester, UK native, is known for The School For Good and Evil, which is set for a Netflix release this fall. Akinpelumi kickstarted her acting career in film, landing her first-ever role in How To Talk To Girls At Parties, from director John Cameron Mitchell, which made its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The Nigerian-British actor played Scouser Rachel Gibson in season three of Rowan Joffe’s revenge crime thriller Tin Star. She also joined the cast of Olivier and the BAFTA-nominated CBBC period drama Hetty Feather, which is based on the novel by Jaqueline Wilson. She is represented by LINK Entertainment and Mark Jermin Management.
Sanchez is a Ukrainian American actress, model, and advocate and known for her viral video Down Syndrome Is Not Scary. She made her acting debut in the television series Switched at Birth in 2015, and her first movie role in For Paloma this year. Additionally, her adoption story inspired two of her published Scholastic books, You are Enough and You are Loved. She is represented by KMR & Associates.
Hoeferle is a German-American actress who spent her youth in between the two countries. Her interest in acting peaked when she played Sam in The Boogeywoman, directed by Erica Scoggins. The short film went on to premiere at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival. She has been involved in a number of indie shorts, including Bodies, directed by Jacob Anderson. She will soon be seen in the upcoming project Tapestry, an anthology of international women sharing stories of themselves, their experience with immigration, or a woman who has inspired the world around them. She is managed by Affirmative Entertainment.