In The Hunger Games universe, tributes must face an arena’s worth of trials and terror in a battle to the death. The stars of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, a prequel set about 60 years before Suzanne Collins’s original trilogy, were put to their own—admittedly far lower stakes—test by Vanity Fair.?
Tom Blyth, who plays a younger version of President Snow in the film, quizzed costars Rachel Zegler and Josh Andrés Rivera, who competed to determine who knows Blyth best. The game starts off on an ironic note when Blyth reveals that his biggest childhood fear is actually in the film’s title. “I was afraid of snakes as a kid because I saw Indiana Jones a lot…and because he was afraid of snakes I think that fear transferred onto me,” he explains.?
This phobia didn’t rear its ugly head on set, though, even when two live reptiles were brought in. “Tom, you never let on that you were afraid,” says Zegler, who plays the titular songbird Lucy Gray Baird. “I’m not anymore—I’ve done a lot of therapy with snakes,” Blyth jokingly replies.
Playing fast and loose with their point allotments, Zegler and Rivera (who are a real-life couple) venture their best guess at the Justin Timberlake track Blyth considers his go-to karaoke song and bond over vino-filled dinner parties with their director, Francis Lawrence. “Francis turned Josh into a fake wino,” Blyth quips.
As for the filmmaker: In a separate video Lawrence breaks down scenes from the four Hunger Games films he’s directed, including Snow’s would-be execution in Mockingjay—Part 2. He also explains why “we never actually pointed any real arrows at anybody, ever,” starting with his first film in the franchise, Catching Fire.?
By quiz show’s end, Zegler and Rivera flip the script on Blyth to test how well he knows them both, asking about a surprising elementary school stage debut, the unexpected people Zegler called from last year’s Oscars, and who among them owned a physical copy of the Shrek original motion picture soundtrack.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes hits theaters on November 17.