Francis Lawrence Says Casting Josh Andres Rivera Helped Rachel Zegler Say Yes to ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Movie

It’s no secret that Rachel Zegler initially turned down the offer to play Lucy Gray Baird in the upcoming The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

However, a new interview with director Francis Lawrence suggests that after he unknowingly cast her boyfriend Josh Andres Rivera in the film, it actually helped her finally agree to do the film.

Keep reading to learn more…

If you didn’t know, Rachel was filming Snow White in England and had to do so alone, away from her family and through quarantining. So, the idea of going straight into another project for another six months in Europe was daunting as she didn’t want to be away from her loved ones for even longer.

“The idea of going from six months in London to go deeper into Europe — into Poland — for another six months of her life freaked her out,” Francis told Entertainment Weekly.

While he continued to try to get her to say yes (even making promises of flying out her family and boyfriend), she continued to turn it down. Rachel said earlier this year that she immediately regretted saying no to the director, and she initially had another project lined up that fell through, which led to her being thrown back into the mix of being up for the role of Lucy.

Francis then shared that he cast Josh Andres Rivera in the role of Sejanus Plinth, then later found out he was her boyfriend, and that helped Rachel say yes, finally.

“My assistant was like, ‘Do you know who that is?’ And I go, ‘Yeah. He was in West Side Story,’” the director recalled. “She says, ‘That’s Rachel‘s boyfriend.’”

He then thought that Rachel “was almost at the end of her schedule. I bet she’s seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Her boyfriend’s going to be in Poland with us. I wonder if we’re going to get a call.”

Then, the next day, they got the call!

ICYMI: Check out the latest trailer for The Hunger Games prequel movie…

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