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The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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The Hunger Games is Back

The+fifth+installment+of+The+Hunger+Games+series+is+out+now.
The fifth installment of “The Hunger Games” series is out now.

  In April 2020, a month before the release of the novel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” author Suzanne Collins and the studio Lionsgate confirmed that plans for a film adaptation were already underway. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a prequel to the belovedHunger Games” trilogy, which was adapted into four movies which became the second highest-grossing film series based on young adult books, earning over $1.4 billion. 

  “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” movie and novel follows the original series’ antagonist and future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, at 18-years-old as he is tasked to mentor the 10th Hunger Games female District 12 tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. Coriolanus struggles with whether or not to conform or rebel to the traditions of Panem and ultimately makes choices that shape him into the complex, apathetic character we see 65 years later in “The Hunger Games.” 

  Mr. Shirlen, a Millbrook English teacher, was asked what questions about Coriolanus Snow he had while watching the first four movies that he would like to see answered in the newest one. He said, “I hope they answer how Snow became the villain in the first three. Also, I hear he falls in love, so it’ll be interesting to learn how that plays out.”

  Anticipation for the adaptation of  “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” has had plenty of time to grow since the novel’s release over three years ago. After a two-year period of very little information about the newest film installment, it was announced in May of 2022 that the protagonist, Coriolanus Snow, would be played by “Billy the Kid” star Tom Blyth. It was also announced that Lucy Gray Baird would be played by Rachel Zegler who is known for starring in the 2021 adaptation of  “West Side Story.” Other actors of the star-studded cast include Viola Davis, Hunter Schafer, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, and Josh Andrés Rivera. The film was directed by Francis Lawrence, who also directed the last three “Hunger Games” movies and produced by Nina Jacobson who produced all four of the originals. Suzanne Collins, the author of all books of the series, also played a role as the executive producer.

  Book to movie adaptations have created some of the most popular franchises and media pieces ever, and are guaranteed a high level of viewership because they come with an already existing fanbase. In fact, book adaptations make up 70 percent of the top 20 grossing films worldwide and generate 53 percent more revenue than original screenplays. When the first  “Hunger Games” movie was released and became extremely successful, other young adult dystopian book adaptations like “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” soon followed and still remain relevant ten years later. 

  There are many reasons why the public is so favorable to these kinds of adaptations, one being that it allows for debate over the film’s accuracy in comparison to its source material. The first four “Hunger Games” movies received praise for their closeness to the novels, so the “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” movie has an expectation to be just as, if not more, accurate. However, fans can rest assured because the author of the novel itself was heavily involved in the movie’s production. 

  When asked what details from the novel she wants to see portrayed on screen, Sophomore Maeley Roach said, “I’m hoping they include Lucy Gray’s dress with the same details as it was described in the book, as I thought it added a lot to her character as a performer.” 

  Whether or not ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ lives up to what readers visualized, it has already resurrected the love for one of the most popular movie and book series in the world. See it in theaters now.

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About the Contributor
Anéssa Myers, Writer
Hey y'all! I'm Anéssa and I'm a sophomore. I play soccer for Wake FC, I dance at CC&CO, and I volunteer with a nonprofit called Addis Jemari. This is my first year on the Cat Talk staff and I'm so excited to give advice on my feature Dear Catty. Also, I love photography and you may see me around campus with my camera :) I hope you all enjoy my photos and writing!

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    Leah Rodriguez-RomeroNov 27, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    This is such an awesome, amazing, astounding, amusing, and astonishing article Anéssa! You MUST get paid for this!!!!!!

    Reply