April 21 (UPI) -- A Hunger Games prequel movie is officially in the works at Lionsgate.
The studio confirmed in a press release Tuesday that it is adapting Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, as a feature film.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be published May 19. Lionsgate previously adapted Collins' Hunger Games books -- The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay -- as four movies starring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen.
Collins will adapt The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes for film with Michael Arndt. Nina Jacobson, who produced the Hunger Games movies, will produce the new film with Brad Simpson, while Francis Lawrence, who directed Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2, will return as director.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes centers on a young Coriolanus Snow, played by Donald Sutherland in the Hunger Games movies. In the prequel, Snow is chosen to be a mentor for the 10th Hunger Games and is assigned a female tribute from the impoverished District 12.
"Suzanne's new book has been worth the wait. It offers everything fans could hope for and expect from The Hunger Games while also breaking new ground and introducing an entirely new canvas of characters," Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake said.
"The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is creatively thrilling and takes this world to complex new dimensions that open up amazing cinematic possibilities," he added. "We're thrilled to reunite this filmmaking team with this very unique franchise, and we can't wait to begin production."
Collins said she's "delighted" to be re-teaming with Lionsgate on the prequel.
"From the beginning, they have treated the source material with great respect, honoring the thematic and narrative elements of the story, and assembling an incredible team both in front of and behind the camera," the author said. "It's such a pleasure to be reuniting wit Nina, Francis, and Michael to adapt the novel to the screen, and having them share their remarkable talents, once again, with the world of Panem."