It was about two years ago that it was announced that Will Smith and Jay-Z would collaborate on producing a remake of the comic strip-turned- musical Annie. Smith’s daughter Willow Smith, best known for singing the pop song “Whip My Hair”, was originally slated to play the titular character in the film in order to boost her career in the same way the remake of The Karate Kid did for her brother Jaden in 2010. The lead role has since been passed over to the youngest Oscar nominee in history, Quvenzhane Wallis from Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Now, it looks like Academy Award-winner Sandra Bullock is in talks to join the cast as the mean woman in charge of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan. Carol Burnett did a famous rendition of boozy Miss Hannigan in the original 1982 John Huston adaptation. Nothing is official yet, and in fact Bullock passed on the role back in March, but if the actress does agree to sign on to the project this time she will be joining Jamie Foxx, who will be playing a modern version of Daddy Warbucks, billionaire Benjamin Stacks. Will Gluck, director of such comedies as Friends with Benefits and Easy A, will helm the film while the script is being handled by actress/screenwriter Emma Thompson and Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, We Bought a Zoo). It’s no surprise that Jay-Z will be working on some of the music for the film (who could forget his 1999 rework of “It’s a Hard Knock Life”, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”?), keeping some of the Annie classics and adding a few new songs to the mix.
Sony Pictures hopes to start production in late fall for a 2014 release around Christmas.