By Michael Gioia
25 Feb 2013
"With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhané Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star," said Hannah Minghella, president of production of Columbia Pictures, in a statement. "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."
As previously reported, Will Gluck, producer of the films "Easy A" and "Friends With Benefits," will direct "Annie." Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, was originally slated to star in the title role. Wallis is the youngest Oscar nominee in Academy Awards history.
The film, produced by two-time Academy Award nominee Smith, is adapted from John Huston's screenplay by Oscar-winning screenwriter and actress Emma Thompson and Aline Brosh McKenna.
"I have been writing the script for nearly three years; it's exciting," said Thompson in an earlier interview with BBC News. "… 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 and Academy Award-nominated actor Smith and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, in partnership with rap artist Jay-Z. Also prodiucing are Jay Brown, and Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith through Marcy Media.
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 current Broadway revival, under the direction of James Lapine, plays the Palace Theatre and stars Lilla Crawford.