Photo: Jamie McCarthy / Staff via Getty Images
  /  04.29.2023

Viola Davis has more than proven her acting range, but her next role as a villain in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has fans gasping. The trailer for the fourth installment of the dystopian franchise reignited praise for Davis’ onscreen talents after its release on Thursday (April 27).

The film serves as a prequel to the previous movies that were based on author Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. Davis’ character is Volumnia Gaul, the head gamemaker. In the trailer, she is shown with a gray afro and a blue eye and adorned in a cloak-like garment.

The film’s logline reads: “Years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem, 18-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 a snake.”

Last April, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group President Nathan Kahane praised Davis’ talent as a welcome addition to the franchise that has boasted stars such as Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth. “The Hunger Games films have always been elevated by their exceptional casting, and we are thrilled to be continuing that tradition with Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul. Her formidable and powerful presence will add layers of complexity and menace to this story,” Kahane told Deadline.

Nina Jacobson, a franchise producer, 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.”

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is expected to debut in theaters on Nov. 17, 2023. View fan reactions to the villainous Viola Davis below.




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