To celebrate the release of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we sat down with some of the cast and filmmakers of the new epic part of the saga that takes places decades before the original movies.

THE HUNGER GAMES: THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS & SNAKES follows a young Coriolanus (Tom Blyth) who is the last hope for his failing lineage, the once-proud Snow family that has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. With his livelihood threatened, Snow is reluctantly assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12. But after Lucy Gray’s charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates. With everything he has worked for hanging in the balance, Snow unites with Lucy Gray to turn the odds in their favour. Battling his instincts for both good and evil, Snow sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.

First up, we chat to cast members Tom Blyth and Josh Andrés Rivera about their characters, going back in time to a Panem just after the infamous war, their friendship on and off screen, what fans can expect from this new, timely film as well as the pressures of big-budget films vs smaller ones. Next, we chat to returning director Francis Lawrence on the unique challenges of doing a prequel, especially after directing three of the original films, why the story was worth bringing to the screen, casting, shooting, and why Suzanne Collins’ books are as important now as they were a decade ago. Finally, producer Nina Jacobson tells us about the initial lure of the books and the fight to get the rights, producing huge event films, the ever-changing landscape of Hollywood and much more in between.

You can watch the full interviews below:

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes opens in UK cinemas on November 17th.