For Rachel Zegler, getting the chance to star in the hotly anticipated Hunger Games prequel has been an incredible experience, for a whole host of different reasons — not least of all because she got to film the action epic alongside her boyfriend, Josh Andrés Rivera.
Zegler walked the red carpet at the premiere of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakeson Monday, at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and she spoke with ET’s Ash Crossan about the on-set romance.
“It is the greatest experience to go to work and have a familiar face that feels like home,” Zegler said with a smile, “and Josh is my home, so it was really, really lovely.”
ET also spoke with Rivera just ahead of Monday’s red carpet premiere — while he got dressed for the big occasion — and the actor said that it was “really special” to share that time with his ladylove.
Rachel Zegler and Josh Andres Rivera at the world premiere of 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes' at BFI IMAX Waterloo in London on Nov. 9. – Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
“I feel really lucky that I’ve gotten to do these two movies and to do it with such an incredible person like her,” said Rivera, who also appeared opposite Zegler in 2021’s West Side Story. “It just feels like we’re both living the dream! We get to do it together… [and I] feel really thankful.”
As Zegler basked in the glow of Monday’s big night — one of the first major red carpet premieres since SAG-AFTRA struck a tentative deal with the AMPTP, ostensibly ending the 118-day strike — the 22-year-old actress said she just felt “very grateful” for all her recent career achievements.
“It’s just a lot of thanks-giving,” she said. “I can’t even believe it. I’m just very humbled by it.”
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Zegler also reflected on her recent chance encounter with original Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence during Paris Fashion Week, and how the two bonded over working with so many of the same people.
“[We] talked about the people we have in common and all of the crew that worked on her movies [who] came back to work on ours as well,” Zegler shared. “So it was kind of this fun little family reunion for her to realize that we all knew the same people”
In The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes — which is set 64 years before the original Hunger Games film — a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) isthe 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 (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.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes hits theaters Nov. 17.