Cameron Diaz Signs On for Will Gluck's "Annie" Film Remake, Starring Quvenzhane Wallis
By Michael Gioia
Golden Globe nominee Cameron Diaz has signed on for "Annie," the upcoming film remake of the 1982 movie musical that will star 2013 Academy Award nominee Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"), according to Deadline.com.
Diaz, known for her on-screen work in such films as "There's Something About Mary," "Shrek," "Being John Malkovich" and "Charlie's Angels," has concluded negotiations with Sony's Columbia Pictures to play the evil orphanage matron Miss Hannigan.
Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") was previously in talks to star. Read the recent Playbill Poll of readers' choices for the role of Hannigan.
Oscar winner Jamie Foxx ("Ray") is attached to star opposite Wallis in the film, which will be produced by Will Smith and Jay-Z. He will play a character named Benjamin Stacks, a variation of Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks.
As previously reported, the film is expected to begin production this August, 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." Willow Smith, daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, was originally slated to star in the title role.
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.
Sony is planning for an anticipated release during the winter holiday season in 2014.
"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 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 and stars Lilla Crawford.
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