‘Annie’ Loses Willow Smith; Gains Director Will Gluck

Sony Pictures will begin casting immediately for the title character, after Will Smith's daughter grew out of the role
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‘Annie’ Loses Willow Smith; Gains Director Will Gluck

Sony's Annie remake loses Willow Smith and gains director Will Gluck Sony Pictures Entertainment has announced this morning that they are in negotiations with Will Gluck to direct a broad-based re-imagining of the classic Broadway musical Annie, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio.

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 Smith through Marcy Media. Gluck will revise the film's screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical stage play Annie, book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on Little Orphan Annie. The film will be set in the modern day. The studio is anticipating a late fall start and is eyeing a 2014 release date.

Overbrook and Sony will soon begin casting the role of Annie, as Willow Smith is no longer attached. Here's what Overbrook's Miguel Melendez had to say about the casting development.

"Willow was nine years old when we started developing this project, and has since grown out of the role."

Doug Belgrad and Hannah Minghella also released a statement regarding the project.

After seeing firsthand his work on several films for Sony, including Easy A and Friends with Benefits, we're huge fans of Will Gluck. 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."

Jay-Z, who previously sampled the classic Annie song "It's the Hard Knock Life" in his chart-busting single "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)," had this to say.

"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. My well-known affinity for the classic 'Hard Knock Life'; makes Annie a natural vehicle to lead us into the world of the cinema."

Annie was released December 19th, 2014.

Sources: Sony Pictures

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