'It has to be fresh': Tom Blyth refused to imitate Donald Sutherland's Hunger Games performance

Tom Blyth tried not to mimic Donald Sutherland in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'.

The 28-year-old actor stars in the new dystopian prequel as Coriolanus Snow and deliberately ignored Sutherland's portrayal of the President of Panem in the original movies.

Tom told a virtual press conference for the film: "Yeah, I kind of had to reserve or refrain myself from going down the rabbit hole of watching all those movies again and watching his performance again.

"Obviously the first instinct I had was to try and recreate it somehow or to nod to it in a kind of savvy way. But the thing is that's never going to be slick. It's never going to be savvy. Everyone's going to be like, 'It feels like you're copying a performance that has already been great.'"

He continued: "The minute as an actor you try to recreate anything that works, whether it's something you've done or something another actor has done, it's the death of spontaneity, and you just can't recreate. It has to be fresh and it has to be in that moment.

"So very early on I kind of put that to the side and Francis (Lawrence) and I talked about making my own and also just asking what drives him now as opposed to what drives him later on when he is president and a dictator and a tyrant."

'The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' takes place 64 years before the other movies and Blyth thinks that audiences will be gripped by Snow's transformation into a ruthless despot.

He said: "I think what fans are drawn to as a character is seeing that he's not just one thing, he ends up as a tyrant, but 64 years before that he was something else entirely. And the interesting part is seeing what he goes through to get there."

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