Although most of the characters in the new Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes won't be familiar to fans of the original films, there is one very major exception.


Tom Blyth takes on the role of a young Coriolanus Snow, with the film providing the origin story of his descent into darkness before he became the villainous Panem President played by Donald Sutherland in the earlier movies.

But although he might have the same name, it's likely that viewers might not instantly recognise him as the same character.

“It's a very different version of the character because he's not become the president yet, he has not become kind of his evil self yet," Blyth explained in an exclusive interview with "

"So I was very wary of kind of getting there too soon with him. Because I think the reason people are gonna enjoy this is seeing a version of him that they don't know yet, before he kind of turns bad."

Blyth added that he broke the character into three different parts to help explore his transition into an antagonist – 'Coryo', the "naive" but "ambitious" version we see at the beginning, 'Coriolanus', the middle version who is "stepping into manhood" and finally 'future President Snow' who is more similar to the version from the other films.

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"I think the only thing I tried to do in any way that nodded towards the Coryo that we've already seen is towards the end, there's a vocal shift," he added.

"And I think you'll notice– it's also in the writing of the script – you can just sense that he's kind of built this wall up now, he's built this facade that he's going to carry forward with him. So I think towards the end of the film, you kind of see that start to creep in a little bit."

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Meanwhile, director Francis Lawrence – who previously helmed three of the other four Hunger Games films – explains that although he did look for some similarities to Sutherland during the casting process, he was also keen for Blyth to go his own way.
"I really wanted somebody with blue eyes so you can go OK... Donald has blue eyes and you want to sort of believe that this person can maybe grow into somebody who looks like Donald Sutherland," he said.

"[But] I didn't want him to mimic Donald Sutherland in any way. I wanted him to have freedom, but he's also Juilliard-trained, I mean he's an amazing actor, and I knew he could do all the emotional facets we needed for the journey."

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is released on 17th November 2023. Check out more of our Film and Sci-Fi coverage, or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what’s on tonight.


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