For Tom Blyth, getting to work on the new star-studded Hunger Games prequel served as an opportunity to learn and grow through the guidance of some Hollywood icons.
Blyth, 28, walked the black carpet at the Metrograph cinema in New York City on Wednesday, for a special screening of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and he spoke with ET about his experience sharing the screen with truly talented, experienced powerhouse performers like Viola Davis, Peter Dinklage and Jason Schwartzman, to name a few.
“No amount of training can ever prepare you for the kind of skills you learn from watching and working with your idols,” Blyth marveled. “Having Peter and Viola and Jason there to kind of not only watch but absorb from, it couldn’t have been more of a dream for me, as an actor.”
Looking back at his time on set, Blyth reflected on the lessons each of his idols bestowed upon him during their collaboration.
“Viola taught me to kind of play and always find playfulness within the work,” Blyth explained. “Peter taught me to not take the noise too seriously and focus on the acting, and Jason taught me to have a bag of tricks up my sleeves at all times — because that man is endlessly funny.”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is Blyth’s first major blockbuster/tentpole studio film, and the experience is one, it seems, he still cannot entirely wrap his head around.
“I grew up on these films. Like, it’s a big part of movie history for me or modern movie history. So, getting to be part of it, I’m still pinching myself honestly,” Blyth said. “I always knew I was going to be an actor. It’s been the only thing I ever set my eyes on. And I’m really grateful to be able to do it for a living now, finally. But yeah, doing this particular franchise is kind of unreal.”
“I couldn’t feel more welcomed, and I couldn’t feel more like part of the tribe that is The Hunger Games,” he added with a smile.
In The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes — which is set 64 years before the original Hunger Games film — a young Coriolanus Snow (Blyth) is the last hope for his failing lineage, which has fallen from grace in a post-war Capitol. He is assigned to be a mentor to Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), a tribute from the impoverished District 12, in the 10th Hunger Games.
When her charm captivates the audience of Panem, Snow sees an opportunity to shift their fates and the pair unites to turn the odds in their favor. As Snow battles his instincts for good and evil, he sets out on a race against time to survive and reveal if he will ultimately become a songbird or a snake.
However, they will face the villainous machinations of the serpent-loving Head Gamemaster Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis) and the powerful forces who look to maintain the power and fear of the games.
Meanwhile, Dinklage stars as Casca Highbottom, Dean of the Academy of Panem, while Schwatzman plays Lucky Flickerman, the official host of the 10th Hunger Games. The film also stars Josh Andrés Rivera as Sejanus Plinth, the mentor to a tribute from District 2 and a close friend of young Snow, and Hunter Schafer, who plays Snow’s cousin, Tigris.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes hits theaters Nov. 17.