Adapted from the 2020 novel titled ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ by Suzanne Collins, ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ is an action-adventure fantasy movie helmed by Francis Lawrence. Serving as the prequel to the 2012 film ‘The Hunger Games,’ it is set 64 years before the events of the first movie of ‘The Hunger Games’ film series and follows the 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow who gets assigned to mentor a female tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, from impoverished District 12 in the 10th annual Hunger Games. Having no hopes in the beginning, his stance changes when Lucy Gray unexpectedly mesmerizes the people of Panem through her singing performance in the reaping ceremony.
Upon combining their showmanship and newfound understanding of politics, Snow and Lucy are in a race against time which would eventually reveal the identities of the songbird and the snake. In the fifth installment of ‘The Hunger Games’ film series, Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Josh Andrés Rivera, Hunter Schafer, and Peter Dinklage portray some of the main characters, elevating the quality of the narrative through their compelling performances. Given the dystopian setting against the backdrop of some interesting locations, the viewers are likely to have certain questions regarding the shooting sites of the film.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes Filming Locations
‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ was filmed in Poland and Germany, particularly in Wrocław, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Leipzig. According to reports, the principal photography for the prequel film got underway in July 2022 and continued for nearly four months, before wrapping up in early November of the same year.
A significant portion of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ was reportedly lensed in Wrocław, a city situated in the southwestern part of Poland. To shoot the scenes based in the arena of the Hunger Games, the production team set up camp in and around the Centennial Hall at Wystawowa 1 in Wrocław. Constructed between 1911 and 1913, it is a historic building that was built with the purpose of hosting concerts, exhibitions, sporting events, and so on. They even moved the production outside of the city, to Zalew Grzędy, where they shot a few portions.
The capital of Germany, Berlin, served as the primary production location for ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.’ While the exteriors of the Altes Museum at Bodestraße 1-3 doubled for Heavensbee Hall, the futuristic and unique interiors of Landesbetrieb Krematorium Berlin at Südostallee 55 stood in for Dr. Gaul’s office in the fantasy film. Various exterior scenes were also taped on location around Strausberger Platz, which is located in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, and Britzer Garten at Sangerhauser Weg 1 in Berlin.
The sports stadium, Olympiastadion Berlin in Berlin Olympic Park, also served as one of the prominent filming sites for the Rachel Zegler starrer. Moreover, the cast and crew members were spotted recording some key portions inside the Veterinary Anatomy Theater at Campus Nord, Philippstraße 13/Haus 3 in Berlin. A few important scenes were also shot in and around Bärensaal in Altes Stadthaus at Klosterstraße 47.
During a November 2023 conversation with Screen Rant, when asked about the challenges he faced during the production process of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ due to the usage of practical locations, the filmmaker Francis Lawrence explained, “I found it less challenging and more fun, quite honestly. I think, A, I wanted to shoot in as many real places as possible. And I worked with production designer, Uli Hanisch. He’s a German-based production designer.”
“And we wanted to research where we could find the best kinds of locations for all of this. And our reference was sort of Reconstruction Era Berlin, so around 45-46, right after World War II. So we ended up shooting primarily in Berlin because of that, and I had some experience shooting there,” Lawrence further added. “And so we just found unbelievable locations that we could shoot in and then at times augment digitally, but at least we’re in real places. The actors had real things to interact with in real environments that were immersive.”
Other Locations in Germany
Additional portions of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes’ were also lensed in other locations across Germany. For instance, Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord, located at Emscherstraße 71 in the city of Duisburg, and the surrounding areas feature in quite a few sequences. Designed in 1991, the public park was constructed to heal and get a deeper understanding of the industrial past, instead of turning a blind eye toward it and rejecting it altogether.
The filming unit of the action movie also made the most of the vast and versatile locales of the city of Leipzig. In particular, they set up camp in Monument to the Battle of the Nations at Straße des 18. Oktober 100 in Leipzig, where they taped several important scenes. The historical monument was completed in 1913 and commemorates the defeat of Napoleon’s French army in the city.
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