Jay-Z’s modern film remake of the classic Broadway musical Annie was supposed to star the pre-teen scion of the Pinkett-Smith empire, Willow Smith. Unfortunately, development of the project moved too slowly and Willow refused to stop growing (into an angsty, adolescent background performer from The Matrix). In a statement released yesterday by Sony Pictures, the studio confirmed that Willow is indeed too
frowny-faced mature for the role and that the search is on for another Annie to star in the film that they hope to release sometime in 2014. (What’s the rush? I suggest waiting until 2021 so that they can use Blue Ivy—is there any chance that kid won’t be able to sing?)
The other big news relating to the project is that Sony has hired Easy A writer/director Will Gluck to helm the remake and to revise scripts written by Emma Thompson and Aline Brosh McKenna (of The Devil Wears Prada fame). “At the helm of Annie, [Gluck] will bring to this film all the charm of the original Broadway production while also appealing to a new generation,” said Sony producers Doug Belgrad and Hannah Minghella.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the movie “will be set in modern day and will also feature a full dose of modern music influences, with Jay-Z working on the soundtrack.” The project will also allow the music mogul/real life Daddy Warbucks to try his hand at producing: “For Marcy Media’s first foray into film, we couldn’t ask for better partners and mentors than [Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith's] Overbrook Entertainment,” read a statement released by Jay-Z. “We are excited to work with Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment. My well-known affinity for the classic ‘Hard Knock Life’ makes Annie a natural vehicle to lead us into the world of the cinema.”