Oscar winner Viola Davis is the latest Hollywood star to join the cast of the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

She will play villainous Head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul, in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins' best-selling dystopian adventure novel.

Davis joins Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) and Tom Blyth (Billy the Kid), who play Lucy Gray Baird and the young Coriolanus Snow, respectively.

Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage was also announced to be attached to the project, playing the role of Casca Highbottom, Dean of the Academy.

The story is set many years before the events of the existing films, when Snow, who goes on to become the tyrannical president of Panem, is still a teenager.

With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, he is assigned to mentor Baird, an impoverished girl from District 12 - the area where Katniss Everdeen (the character played by Jennifer Lawrence in the other Hunger Games films) grows up years later.

The film, produced by Lionsgate, will debut in cinemas worldwide on 17 November 2023.

Returning director Francis Lawrence said of Davis' character: "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."

Source: Press Association

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