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Will Smith & Jay-Z’s ‘Annie’ Is Officially ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ Star Quvenzhane Wallis

Posted by , on February 24, 2013 at 2:07 pm 

As she gears up for her big Oscar night, being the youngest Best Actress nominee in history, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis will have something else to celebrate. After being rumored for the role earlier this month, Sony Pictures have officially announced that the child actress has been cast in the title role of their upcoming Annie remake.

After Willow Smith grew out of the role, her dad Will Smith (a producer on the film, along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and rap icon Jay -Z) had to go on a search for another star and it seems as though the process wasn’t a difficult one, with the Beasts star right in front of their eyes since its Sundance premiere. Drawing on both the hit Broadway musical and the original comic strips, Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends with Benefits) will be helming the new musical adaptation, while Jay-Z provides some additional new songs.

Gluck will also rewrite the script from screenwriter Emma Thompson, who previously took over from We Bought a Zoo and The Devil Wears Prada’s Aline Brosh McKenna. Wallis, who was discovered by Benh Zeitlin and crew during the Beasts casting process will be seen again alongside Dwight Henry in Steve McQueen‘s Shame follow-up Twelve Years a Slave (but in very minor roles), so Annie will clearly mark her first major Hollywood production. She certainly has the spirit, so I’m hoping the filmmakers can conjure up a worthwhile new take on the tried and true material.

The film is aiming for a winter holiday season release in 2014 and one can see Columbia Pictures exec Hannah Minghella‘s comments on the casting below:

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. 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.

Is Wallis a good fit for the role?


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