It was rumored last week, but now it’s official: “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhané Wallis has signed on to star Sony’s heavily revised update of “Annie.”
The new version of the classic musical is eying a winter 2014 release date and will be directed by Will Gluck (“Easy A”). Gluck is currently rewriting the screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna from the stage play, which was based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip.
The high-octane “Annie” production team includes James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through Overbrook Entertainment, as well as Shawn Carter — You know him as “Jay-Z” — and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith.
Wallis will, of course, play the title character, an ragamuffin who dreams of escaping her hard knock life of poverty, grifters and sociopathic orphanage administrators, perhaps with the help of the yet-to-be-cast Oliver Warbucks.
One of the breakout stars of 2012, the nine-year-old Wallis has been up for a slew of awards for her role as Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” including a Oscar on Sunday (February 24) night.
“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,” blurbs Columbia Pictures President of Production Hannah Minghella. “She is 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.”
Wallis’ “Beasts” follow-up will be a role in Steve McQueen’s “Twelve Years a Slave” opposite Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender. The “Annie” press release somewhat adorably tells us that her passtimes are reading, singing, dancing, acting, and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS, while her favorite sports are basketball, volleyball, dance and cheerleading.