"Annie" is no longer being re-imagined as a vehicle for Willow Smith; Sony Pictures will begin looking for a new star
Will Gluck is in negotiations to direct a new version of the Broadway musical "Annie," Sony Pictures said Wednesday.
The story of the plucky little orphan who moves from the bread lines to riches was originally envisioned as a vehicle for Will Smith's daughter Willow, but she will no longer be involved in the project. Producers noted that she was nine years old when the development began on the project, but is now 12 years old and has since "grown out" of the role. Sony said it will soon begin casting the role of Annie.
Gluck previously directed "Easy A" and "Friends with Benefits" for the studio. He will revise the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna ("The Devil Wears Prada") and based on the stage play.
Instead of the Great Depression, which formed the backdrop of the Broadway play, the film will be set in the modern day. The studio is anticipating a late fall start and is eyeing a 2014 release date.
The film will be produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith through their Overbrook Entertainment banner, and by Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media.
Carter who previously refashioned "It's a Hard Knock Life" into an anthem of ghetto poverty, will re-imagine the Broadway score.
"Annie" was previously made into a 1982 movie starring Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks, Carole Burnett as Miss Hannigan and, in her film debut, Aileen Quinn as Annie. Directed by John Huston ("The African Queen"), the film received mixed reviews and did not turn a profit during its theatrical run because of its big budget.