‘Hunger Games’ Prequel ‘Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Approved for SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement

Stars Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis and Peter Dinklage will be able to promote the Lionsgate film

Rachel Zegler in "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes" (Lionsgate)

SAG-AFTRA has approved the upcoming Lionsgate film “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” for the SAG-AFTRA interim agreement. This clears the film’s cast, led by Rachel Zegler and Tom Blyth, to promote the film ahead of its Nov. 17 release.

Because it’s not a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, Lionsgate is eligible to have its films qualify for the interim agreement. SAG-AFTRA created the agreement to allow films produced and distributed independently from the Hollywood studios the guild is striking against to continue their shoots and promotional campaigns.

Other upcoming films from non-AMPTP distributors that have been approved for the interim agreement include A24’s “Priscilla” and Neon’s “Ferrari,” the latter of which had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival with stars Adam Driver and Penelope Cruz in attendance.

Based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a prequel set decades before the “Hunger Games” trilogy.

The film stars Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow and tells the beginning of his rise to become the tyrannical president of Panem. That journey that starts with his role as mentor to Hunger Games competitor Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler. Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman and Viola Davis also appear in the film.

SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP continued negotiations on a new contract through this past weekend and are scheduled to work internally on the contract on Monday before resuming direct talks on Tuesday.

Studio insiders said that there was “meaningful progress” on the issues of minimum rate increases and streaming compensation over the weekend, but that artificial intelligence and other actor-specific issues still need to be resolved.

The urgency by AMPTP to get a deal done has increased further as television divisions warn that it will be impossible to salvage the 2023-24 TV season in any way if a deal isn’t reached within the next week or so. Film divisions have already moved the release dates of several tentpole films that were set to hit theaters next year from 2024 to 2025, including Paramount’s “Mission: Impossible 8” and Disney/Pixar’s “Elio.”

For all of TheWrap’s Hollywood strike coverage, click here.


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