The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes goes back in time to follow the 10th annual Hunger Games where a very different District 12 tribute from Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen takes to the arena. Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray Baird is a natural performer who has a talent for singing. It’s safe to say she’s the “songbird” in the title, but how was the singing accomplished on the set of one of this weekend’s 2023 new movie releases?
When CinemaBlend attended The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes press conference in Los Angeles, Rachel Zegler discussed how singing worked on set. In her words:
In a lot of movies where actors sing, they record the music in studios where it’s mixed and they then lip-sync on set. (Like a music video!) However, in Rachel Zegler’s case, the actress made the decision to sing for every take on set instead. The actress felt performing live would help the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ cast and crew remain immersed in the world on set. Plus, coming from a musical theatre background herself, she knew she could do so. Zegler sang live in her first movie leading Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story cast as Maria too. As she continued:
Rachel Zegler also spoke about the choice on Instagram along with a behind-the-scenes video of herself singing on the set of the movie. Check it out:
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is based on the book of the same name where author Suzanne Collins wrote and detailed numerous original songs performed by Lucy Gray Baird throughout the 10th annual Hunger Games. The movie adaptation gives fans an opportunity to see these moments in the book come to life and for Rachel Zegler to once again bring her musical talents to the big screen.
Zegler sings seven songs on The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes soundtrack, now available to stream on Spotify. This includes a brand new rendition of “The Hanging Tree,” which Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen sang in Mockingjay Part 1. As the movie reveals, it’s Lucy Gray Baird who actually originates “The Hanging Tree” based on the events of this prequel.
With the latest The Hunger Games movie now in theaters, you can check out our The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes review and our breakdown of the movie’s ending here on CinemaBlend.
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Khushi Patel is a science fiction author who lives in Austin, Texas. She has published three novels, and her work has been praised for its originality and imagination. Khushi is a graduate of Rice University, and she has worked as a software engineer. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and her books have been nominated for several awards.