The forthcoming, modern-day movie remake of “Annie” had an announced loss and a gain today. In a statement released today, it has been revealed that Will Smith’s daughter and Roc Nation recording artist Willow is out in the title role, but a director has at least been selected for the film, which is slated to begin shooting this fall.
Will Gluck, who helmed “Friends with Benefits” and Emma Stone vehicle “Easy A,” is on to head up the screen musical. Overbrook Entertainment — led by Will Smith, wife Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter — is still producing along with Marcy Media, which is Jay-Z’s new film company.
“After seeing firsthand his work on several films for Sony, including Easy A and Friends with Benefits, we”re huge fans of Will Gluck,” said Sony”s Doug Belgrad and Hannah Minghella. “At the helm of ‘Annie,’ he will bring to this film all the charm of the original Broadway production while also appealing to a new generation.”
Gluck will again revise the script, which was written at first by Emma Thompson and then rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna.
Willow, now 12, outgrew her casting as Annie since the film project was formally announced in January 2011. Her deletion from the marquee could be a loss for Jay-Z, too, considering Roc Nation is his label and would benefit from their star leading the film.
Still, Jay-Z will be on-hand for the formation and execution of the musical reimagining.
“For Marcy Media”s first foray into film, we couldn”t ask for better partners and mentors than Overbrook Entertainment. We are excited to work with Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment,” Jay-Z aka Shawn Carter said. “My well-known affinity for the classic ‘Hard Knock Life’ makes Annie a natural vehicle to lead us into the world of the cinema.”