The Hunger Games universe will expand with director Francis Lawrence adapting Suzanne Collins' highly anticipated novel 'The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes' for a prequel to the series.
Lawrence will direct, while Michael Arndt will write the screenplay. Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson will produce the project, with Collins on board to executive produce and write the film's treatment. Lionsgate has brought the creative team behind the studio's four film adaptations of earlier Collins' books -- The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The cast for the prequel hasn't been announced.
"Suzanne's new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters," said Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
As per the synopsis, the film will "focus on Coriolanus Snow at age 18, years before he would become the tyrannical President of Panem".
"Young Coriolanus is handsome and charming, and though the Snow family has fallen on hard times, he sees a chance for a change in his fortunes when he is chosen to be a mentor for the Tenth Hunger Games only to have his elation dashed when he is assigned to mentor the girl tribute from impoverished District 12," read the synopsis.
Collins is "delighted" about the news of the prequel. "From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honouring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera," she said.
Back in 2012, Lionsgate launched the first of four blockbuster movies based on the Hunger Games novels, which starred Jennifer Lawrence. The franchise also features Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson and Elizabeth Banks.