West Side Story star Rachel Zegler will play the female lead in the Hunger Games prequel, A Song of the Birds and the Snake.

The “Tribute von Panem” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (“The Song of Birds and Snakes”) has found its leading actress: Rachel Zegler (21), known from Steven Spielberg’s (75) “West Side Story”.

Before the “Hollywood Reporter” reported that Zegler was cast for the role of Lucy Gray Baird, the actress herself caused speculation. She had written a cryptic post on Sunday, the initials of which make up the character’s name.

In the meantime, she has confirmed the news with numerous reposts – and posted pictures that show her on the phone in a restaurant while she gets the confirmation.

That’s what “The Song of the Bird and the Snake” is about

The film is based on the 2020 book of the same name by Suzanne Collins (59), which takes place decades before Katniss Everdeen’s adventures in “The Hunger Games” – so Jennifer Lawrence (31) will not appear in it. Instead, the backstory revolves around Coriolanus Snow, an ambitious boy who eventually becomes the tyrannical leader of the dystopian land of Panem. The young Snow is to be played by Tom Blyth (27), as was recently announced. Snow also becomes Gray’s mentor during the “Hunger Games”.

“When you read Suzanne’s book, Lucy Gray’s emotional intelligence, physical agility and fierce, determined singing voice shine through. Rachel embodies all of these abilities – she is the perfect choice for our Lucy Gray,” said Nathan Kahane, President of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group , in a statement. The book adaptation is scheduled to hit theaters in November 2023.