Last month we reported to you that Will Smith and Jay-Z were producing a remake of Annie (the 1982 musical based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip; the film was also the source of the catchy sample featured in Jay-Z’s hit, “Hard Knock Life [Ghetto Anthem]”). For some time, Smith’s daughter, Willow Smith, was set to play the starring role of the bright-eyed orphan who gets adopted by the billionaire Daddy Warbucks, as Will Smith is contractually obligated to force all of his children into show business. However, Willow has aged out of the role, and Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis has officially taken the part.
It’s a nice bit of news for the star, who lost out on an Oscar on Sunday night (and was the center of an insipid internet controversy). Columbia Pictures’ Hannah Minghella had this to say about the casting:
“She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can’t wait for audiences to further discover her.”
The film will follow the basic plot of the original musical, but will be set in the modern era. Will Gluck (Easy A) will direct this fall, and the film is set for a 2014 release.
What do you think of the casting news?