The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Producer Talks Bringing The Hunger Games To New Audiences

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is heading to theaters this month, and it marks the first film in the franchise since The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 was released back in 2015. Each film in the franchise is based on the books by Suzanne Collins, and the first series of books and films was a huge phenomenon. recently had the chance to chat with Nina Jacobson, who has produced every Hunger Games movie in addition to the upcoming prequel. We asked about the new film’s darker themes and if there were any discussions about how a huge portion of the original film’s fan base are now adults.

“We certainly thought a lot about the fact that, on the one hand, like I say, we have incredible fanship for these books and movies,” Jacobson began. “We have, I think, really smart, creative, insightful fans. And so, we’re always trying to live up to the promise of the material and the way that Suzanne is able to connect with her audiences, but I also think that we knew that a lot of people would be coming to this without having ever seen the movies. Now, Netflix and the run of the original movies on Netflix really brought a lot of new fans, people who hadn’t grown up with it, who really discovered it recently on streaming, but we also wanted the movie to work for people who had no familiarity with any of it and to make sure that we made a movie that would work as well for the fans, we hope, as it does for the uninitiated.”

Nina Jacobson Talks The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Casting:

During‘s interview with Jacobson, she opened up about the film’s casting and the importance of finding the right actors to play younger versions of well-known characters in addition to relatives of well-known characters.

“Well, of course, any time that you’re casting somebody, like you say, who’s related or a younger version, obviously you’re going to lop off a whole bunch of people who could be great, but who just don’t look like they would ever grow up to be that person,” Jacobson explained. “So you have the demands of, ‘Can I believe that this young man becomes that older man?’ And then also on the Lucy Gray [Rachel Zegler] front, even though she’s not related to anybody, she has to be able to sing to inhabit that performer’s personality, but also to kind of convey both the sort of savviness and street smarts of this character.”

“And to have those questions of like, ‘Is she Songbird or is she Snake?’ Because she’s always singing, but she’s also always got a snake, or not always, but a good amount of the time,” Jacobson continued. “So, just a reminder that none of these characters are meant to be all one or the other. And so, you have to get actors who can bring that level of complexity and nuance. It’s much easier to just play a straight-up good guy, straight-up bad guy, but to have to kind of live in the middle and the pull and the push, and we wanted audiences to also wonder, is it real or not real?”

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set to open in theaters on November 17th. You can watch our interview with Jacobson at the top of the page.