By Michael Gioia
21 Aug 2012
The film, produced by two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith, is adapted from John Huston's screenplay by Oscar-winning screenwriter and actress Emma Thompson.
"I have been writing the script for nearly three years; it's exciting," said Thompson. "In the autumn, we get to go to L.A. to work with Willow and work on more of the script… Jay-Z has already started working on the music."
The film will include some of the Annie classics, which were written by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, but some will be cut for additions by Jay-Z. The rapper previously reworked "It's the Hard Knock Life" into his "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," a single from his third album entitled "Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life."
The upcoming remake of the movie musical will be produced by Overbrook Entertainment, led by James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz and Willow Smith's parents, Academy Award-nominated actor Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, in partnership with rap artist Jay-Z.
Annie opened April 21, 1977, at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The show was one of the biggest Broadway musical hits of the 1970s, running for almost six years and playing 2,377 performances. The musical was previously filmed in 1982 and remade for ABC-TV in 1999.
Annie's score includes "Maybe," "It's the Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You" and "Tomorrow."
The 2012 Broadway revival, under the direction of James Lapine, will begin previews at the Palace Theatre Oct. 3, prior to an official opening Nov. 8. Lilla Crawford (Billy Elliot) stars.
Willow Smith has appeared in the films "I Am Legend" and "Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl" and had a hit single with the song "Whip My Hair!" Her parents, along with Jay-Z, were co-producers of the recent Broadway musical Fela!