‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Nabs SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement

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By Joshephira Honey

The forthcoming prequel in the Hunger Games franchise has landed an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA ahead of its release next month.

This means that The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, the Lionsgate feature hitting theaters Nov. 17, can have its onscreen talent promote the film in the coming weeks. Francis Lawrence directs a cast that includes Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Peter Dinklage, Hunter Schafer, Jason Schwartzman, Josh Andrés Rivera and Viola Davis.

The film is eligible because Lionsgate is not part of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which is currently engaged in negotiations with SAG-AFTRA amid the actors strike.

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Other recent projects to have received an interim agreement for publicity purposes include Bleecker Street’s What Happens Later, A24’s Priscilla and Iron Claw, Neon’s Ferrari and concert film Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.

Zegler took to Instagram on Monday to celebrate the news, writing that she is “so beyond thankful” to Lionsgate and SAG-AFTRA for working out the deal. “Making this movie was hands-down one of the best experiences of my life thus far,” she posted. “I cannot wait to share more behind-the-scenes content with you all, the fans, who make experiences like this eight million times better.”

The actress added, “Cannot believe i get to say this, with only a few weeks to spare, but… see you out there on our press tour!”

The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is based on the novel of the same name by author Suzanne Collins and features a script from Michael Lesslie and Michael Arndt. Collins, Jim Miller, Tim Palen and Mika Saito serve as executive producers.

The original four-film Hunger Games series starred Jennifer Lawrence and concluded in 2015 with the second Mockingjay movie. The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes was one of the more star-packed features not to move dates amid the strike, which prevents actors from promoting their works.

SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told The Hollywood Reporter last month that interim agreements are pivotal for the union during the strike.

“When we sign an interim agreement with a producer, that is a full-on collective bargaining agreement,” Crabtree-Ireland said at the time. “So once a producer makes that deal, we want their project to be successful, we want them to be able to promote it. We want actors to go out and do all the things they would normally do in connection with a project like that.”

Oct. 30, 4 p.m. Updated with Rachel Zegler’s Instagram post.

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