Rachel Zegler Recalls What It Was Like Meeting The Hunger Games OG Jennifer Lawrence After Filming The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes

 Rachel Zegler in Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.
Rachel Zegler in Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.

A new chapter in The Hunger Games story is set to arrive with the release of the spinoff prequel The Ballad of the Songbirds and Snakes next weekend. And West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler is taking the lead this time around as the violent games’ District 12 tribute. Of course, since Jennifer Lawrence famously played Katniss Everdeen in the original four movies, there was a certain novelty to seeing her and Zegler at the same fashion show back in September. Now, the latter is opening up about that run-in and how she managed to connected with Lawrence.

Ahead of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes hitting theaters, Rachel Zegler has been paying tribute to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen through red carpet looks like the fiery red dress she wore at the Berlin premiere or the sheer black ensemble she sported at the London premiere. Zegler spoke about having the chance to connect with Jennifer Lawrence since making her Hunger Games movie, and it sounds like the two have forged a solid relationship:

I had already filmed it when I had met her and we really just were able to bond over the fact that we know so many of the same people. … One of my good friends is Andrew Barth Feldman, who she just did No Hard Feelings with and, obviously, Francis Lawrence is obsessed with her. Everyone who worked on our movies came over from the original trilogy to work on ours.

More on upcoming book adaptations

Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Critics Have Seen The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, See What They’re Saying About The Dystopian Prequel

During her interview with People, the Shazam! Fury of the Gods actress shared that when she and J-Law met, they could “bond” over many of their mutual connections. The actress spoke about her and the Oscar winner having a mutual friend in No Hard Feelings’ Andrew Barth Feldman, which is Jennifer Lawrence's latest flick. Additionally, there’s the fact that The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence worked with Lawrence on three of the four Hunger Games movies and brought back much of the crew of those productions to the prequel.

While Rachel Zegler shared that she didn’t have a chance to meet her predecessor prior to making The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, she said that it actually "relieved the pressure” and made herself and the cast feel like they were “able to do our own thing.” Though Zegler also said that if the Joy actress had in fact reached out beforehand to give her “tips,” she “absolutely would have been open to hearing them.”

This latest book-to-screen adaptation for the franchise takes place over 60 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteers to be in the games It follows the formative years of eventual President Snow, who has mere aspirations to have a powerful title one day. Although Jennifer Lawrence is not in the movie, there are a few connections between Katniss and Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray Baird to surmise while you watch the film, including possible familial connections, per the director. I'm glad the two actresses had a chance to meet and chop it up, and I hope they'll eventually get the chance to star in a movie together.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be in theaters on Friday, November 17 as part of the schedule of 2023 new movie releases. You can also stream the franchise's first four movies using a Peacock subscription.