A couple months ago, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis was tapped to star in the remake of Annie. For those unfamiliar with the musical (or the comic strip on which it was based), Annie centers on a poor orphan who is adopted by Daddy Warbucks, a wealthy benefactor. According to Heat Vision, Jamie Foxx is in talks to play “Benjamin Stacks”, who is “a variation of the Daddy Warbucks personage” and in case you couldn’t figure it out, his name comes from stacks of $100 bills. While I understand that it’s appropriately updated, I couldn’t help but hear a needle-scratch when I read that name simply because of how corny it sounds. Hopefully, it works better in the context of the movie and the tone director Will Gluck and producers Will Smith and Jay-Z are going for.
Foxx is currently filming on The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and is developing a horror series for SyFy. He’ll be seen later this summer in the action flick White House Down. Annie is eyeing a fall production start for a 2014 release.
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There are many great things in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but Quvenzhané Wallis is the greatest. Upon seeing the movie, I hoped Hollywood would find a place for her raw star power. The Oscar nomination for Best Actress should help launch her, but there are more Keisha Castle-Hugheses than Anna Paquins among young Oscar nominees. The most promising news yet is that Wallis will indeed headline the remake of Annie, following up on the speculative report from earlier in the month. Can she sing? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see Wallis try. The prospects of an Annie remake are iffy in a vacuum, but Jay-Z is curating the music and director Will Gluck (Easy A) is a good choice to make a musical with bite, so there is reason for optimism.
Will Smith, James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Brown, Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith, and Jay-Z will produce. Gluck is currently rewriting the script for a Winter 2014 release. Hit the jump for the press release with all the details.
Though it was only a few weeks ago that we learned that Willow Smith was no longer going to be starring in the Will Smith and Jay-Z-produced musical remake of Annie, it appears that director Will Gluck (Friends with Benefits) already has his sights set on a pretty big get to lead the film. EW reports that Beasts of the Southern Wild star (and Best Actress nominee) Quvenzhané Wallis is apparently in consideration to star in the redo, though the magazine cautions that Gluck and the producers have yet to make any firm casting decisions. Hit the jump for more.
Development on Sony’s musical remake of Annie continues, and the project has both gained and lost a player. The project was first announced in early 2011 with Will Smith and Jay-Z producing the redo as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter Willow Smith. Willow is now 12 years old and has since outgrown the lead role, so she is no longer attached to star. However, movement on the project continues as Easy A and Friends with Benefits helmer Will Gluck is now in negotiations to direct. Hit the jump for more.
It’s been a few months since we last heard about the Annie remake, developed by Will Smith as a starring vehicle for daughter Willow. At the time, Glee creator Ryan Murphy was mentioned as the frontrunner to direct. Smith and co-producer Jay-Z probably missed the chance to squeeze the shoot into the Glee spring/summer production hiatus between season two and three. To do so they would have needed a script. On that front, Vulture hears Smith and Jay-Z are in negotiations Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson to write the musical. Presumably, the topic came up as Smith and Thompson shared a break on the set of Men in Black III.
Vulture actively lobbies for Thompson to tailor the role of drunk orphanage director Miss Hannigan for Oscar-winning actor Emma Thompson; I co-sign. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the 1982 movie.
A couple weeks ago, we reported that Will Smith and Jay-Z were teaming up to produce a “re-imagination” of the Broadway musical Annie starring Smith’s daughter Willow. The young Smith already has an obnoxious pop single with “Whip My Hair” so she can apparently handle a musical. Deadline is now reporting that Sony wants Glee creator Ryan Murphy to direct the flick. For those unfamiliar with Annie, the story is set during the Great Depression and centers on a spunky 11-year-old redhead named Annie who is adopted by kindly billionaire Daddy Warbucks. The musical was based on the comic Little Orphan Annie. The character has traditionally been white, but nothing prevents the character from being black provided you move the time to post-integration. Otherwise, if you keep it set during the Great Depression, it seems like you’re saying, “Black children have always been treated equally as white children! What’s Jim Crow?”
Hit the jump for more on Murphy and his other potential projects.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 26th, 2011 at 11:19 am
It’s official: the Will Smith/Jay-Z Annie remake is going into production. One week ago, we reported that the pair were in talks to revamp the classic property as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter Willow. At that time, however, it was believed that Jay-Z’s contribution would be confined to the film’s music. The press release we received today, though, confirms that the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” will team-up with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment as a co-producer on the project. In addition to Overbrook and Jay-Z’s (a.k.a. Shawn Carter) involvement, Sony Pictures Entertainment will help develop the Annie remake.
For more on the project, hit the jump to check out the full press release.
Will Smith developed a remake of The Karate Kid for son Jaden, and it was the surprise hit of the summer with a sequel on the way. But the Fresh Prince is not one to play favorites with his offspring. Let’s see, what 1980s film would be perfect for a gift to daughter Willow Smith? Oh, of course: Annie. The property originated in 1924 as Little Orphan Annie, a comic strip about a parentlessly plucky young redhead. And the Broadway musical opened in 1977. But the film based on the musical premiered in 1982, so it counts.
The idea of “The Smiths Present Annie” is plenty entertaining on its own. But gee whiskers, it gets better: Jay-Z is in talks to collaborate on the music. Details after the jump: