SHAZAM 2 Star Rachel Zegler Joins THE HUNGER GAMES Prequel As Lucy Gray Baird

Rachel Zegler sent speculation into overdrive with a cryptic Tweet earlier this week, and we now have confirmation that she'll play Lucy Gray in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

A rumor did the rounds earlier this week that Shazam! Fury of the Gods actress Rachel Zegler had landed the female lead role in Lionsgate's upcoming The Hunger Games prequel, and Variety has now confirmed that the West Side Story star will play Lucy Gray Baird in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Zegler actually teased the announcement by sending out the following Tweet, with fans quickly deciphering that the first letter of each word spells out the name of her character.

“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,” said director Francis Lawrence. “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.”

Based on Suzanne Collins’ 2020 book of the same name, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place decades before The Hunger Games, which means Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) won't factor in to the story. Instead, this prequel will focus on a younger Coriolanus Snow, an ambitious boy who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of Panem.

Tom Blyth (Billy the Kid, The Gilded Age) will play the 18-year-old Snow, who ends up being assigned to mentor District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird. In the novel, Gray "sparks everyone’s attention by singing during the reaping ceremony. With her talent and charm, Snow believes he may be able to turn the odds in their favor to win the games."

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

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