By Michael Gioia
25 Sep 2013
Akinnuoye-Agbaje, whose film credits also include "Bullet to the Head" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," will play Nash, the bodyguard and driver for Benjamin Stacks, a variation of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks (to be played by Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx), who is a potential mayoral candidate in the new adaptation.
As previously reported, Tony Award nominee Bobby Cannavale (The Big Knife, The Motherf**ker with the Hat) has signed on to play a tough political adviser to Stacks. Golden Globe nominee Cameron Diaz ("There's Something About Mary") is also attached to star in the film, which will be produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z. Diaz will play evil orphanage matron Miss Hannigan. Golden Globe nominee Rose Byrne, known for her television work on the series "Damages," is in talks to play Grace.
Additionally, Deadline.com reports that Columbia Pictures will now release "Annie" in theatres Dec. 19, 2014 — a few days prior to its intended Christmas Day 2014 release.
The film began production this summer, and some of the characters' names have been changed for the remake. An earlier casting notice for the Columbia Pictures film asked for actresses to play an 11-year-old foster child named Isabella, who dreams of a better life involving a "no-limit credit card and shopping sprees galore"; and an eight-year-old child named Mia, who has a slight speech impediment. Other orphan characters such as Tessie and Pepper remain similar to the original 1977 musical.
Will Gluck, producer of the films "Easy A" and "Friends With Benefits," will direct "Annie."
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 and Aline Brosh McKenna.
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 producing 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.