“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” Reveals Viola Davis as the Head Gamemaker

You can’t ask for an actor with more gravitas to supercharge your movie than Viola Davis. In a new clip for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Davis’s regal presence as Dr. Volumnia Gaul, the head gamemaker, commands a literal stage as she addresses a room full of new academy members. “How tantalizing to see all your shining young faces on this auspicious day,” Dr. Gaul says after a laugh so ominous you can practically see the blood freeze in the youngsters’ veins.

The new clip introduces us to Dr. Volumnia Gaul and Gaul to the new members as not only the head gamemaker, but the woman in charge of the war department and all its affiliated concerns. Hunger Games heads know that the gamemaker is the person responsible for crafting the treacherous, wickedly ingenious spectacle of carnage that takes place every year in Panem. The ostensible purpose of the games is to keep the peace among the districts by requiring every one of them to sacrifice two children to participate. Nearly all of them won’t come home, and their deaths will be brutal—by design—and televised. “I’ve broken free of my laboratory today to examine you,” Dr. Gaul says, “the leaders of the next generation. I won’t be around forever, after all.”

At this, Dr. Gaul introduces the dean of the Academy and creator of the Hunger Games himself, Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage), a man who seems almost pained by the thing he’s brought into the world. Among the young faces, we see one that will have not only a huge role to play here but in the future of Panem, a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth), who will find himself mentoring a young tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). Their relationship will form the crux of the adventure in director Francis Lawrence’s upcoming prequel.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set 64 years before the events in the original trilogy as Panem prepares for the 10th Annual Games. As the clip shows, the film will enjoy some of the finest actors working today as viewers are brought back to the world that made Jennifer Lawrence a superstar and that Lawrence, in turn, helped turn into a cultural phenomenon.

Other important characters you’ll get to know are Lucretius “Lucky” Flickerman (Jason Schwartzman), Coriolanus’s Academy classmates Clemensia Dovecote (Ashley Liao), and Sejanus Plinth (Josh Andrés Rivera).

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes arrives in theaters on November 17.

For more on The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, check out these stories:

New “The Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” Photos Reveal Tributes, Treachery, & More

Two New “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” Teasers Unveil the Most Dangerous Game

Second “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes” Trailer Reveals a Panem-Shaking Relationship

“The Hunger Games: The Ballads of Songbirds & Snakes” Official Trailer Lures You Back to Panem

Featured image: Viola Davis as Dr Volumnia Gaul in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Photo Credit: Murray Close


The Credits

The Credits is an online magazine that tells the story behind the story to celebrate our large and diverse creative community. Focusing on profiles of below-the-line filmmakers, The Credits celebrates the often uncelebrated individuals who are indispensable to the films and TV shows we love.