Well, young Quvenzhané Wallis didn’t win an Oscar for her AMAZING performance as Hushpuppy in the multi-nominated film Beasts Of The Southern Wild but she’s taking it all in stride because she’s about to play a role most Oscar winners NEVER got the chance to play: Little Orphan Annie.
In a greatest sense of PR timing EVER, Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment happily announced yesterday morning before the Oscar festivities kicked off that they’ve cast Wallis in the titular role for this latest re-telling that’ll be directed/produced by Will Gluck (Easy A, Andy Richter Controls The Universe).
Also joining the production team are James Lassiter (I Am Legend, The Pursuit Of Happyness), actor Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith through Overbrook Entertainment (owned by Lassiter and Will Smith) and Shawn “Jay-Z” (yes, THAT Jay-Z) Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Carter’s company Marcy Media.
Originally developed with Smith’s daughter Willow “Whip My Hair” Smith in mind, 9-year-old Wallis was approached once it was evident that Smith (now 12) had aged out while the film was in development.
Sony production president Hannah Minghella (daughter of late director Anthony Minghella) is over the moon, happily stating “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’s 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.”
Gluck is currently revising the screenplay initially written by Emma Thompson (then rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna) and will be based on the musical and book by Thomas Meehan; music by Charles Strouse; lyrics by Martin Charnin and the Little Orphan Annie comic strip itself.
Considering I’d been hoping for an urban version of Annie ever since Hova released the single Hard Knock Life (that featured a beat and lyric sample from one of the musical’s flagship songs) back in 1998…I am STOKED.
Here’s a little refresher but it’s NSFW, so headphones are your friend.
Considering Wallis was six when Beasts Of The Southern Wild was made; has a role in the upcoming Twelve Years A Slave alongside Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender (directed by Steve McQueen) AND hails from Houma, Louisiana (home of two of my favorite gator hunters from the History Channel show Swamp People), this girl has the whole world ahead of her and I personally can’t wait to watch her (and her career) grow into something awesome and special.
Not to mention that Little Orphan Annie has always been a symbol of bravery and her “never give up” attitude has been a constant inspiration to little girls everywhere…and if you saw Beasts Of The Southern Wild, you’d know Wallis is PERFECT for the role.
Plus she’s gonna look SO FIERCE in the traditional red dress; here’s hoping her dog Sandy is a pit bull or mastiff this time around!
Annie is set for release during the holiday season, 2014.
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