Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment have found their title character for Annie. They’ve set Oscar nominated Beasts Of The Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis to play the role, in a film to be directed and produced by Will Gluck. Also producing are James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith producing through Overbrook, with Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media. That was the role that Willow Smith was going to play, but she grew out of it during the film’s long period of development. The contemporized re-imagining of the Broadway musical will shoot later this year for holiday 2014 release. Gluck, the helmer who directed Easy A and Friends With Benefits for Sony-based Screen Gems, signed on last month. Gluck has been revising a screenplay written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical and its book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin. That’s based on the Little Orphan Annie comic strip. Wallis is up for Best Actress today–youngest ever in that category–for her cute as a button portrayal as Hushpuppy in Beasts Of The Southern Wild. She was six when she made that film and is now nine, but is even more adorable, if that is possible. She’s repped by ICM Partners. Here is the official word from Sony:

Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media,  director Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment have cast Academy Award®  nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, the star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, in the title  role of Annie, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia  Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio.

Commenting on the announcement, Minghella said, “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 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.”

Annie will be released during the winter holiday season in 2014. The film is being directed by Gluck and produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and  Will Smith through Overbrook Entertainment, and by Shawn “JAY Z” Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media. Gluck is currently revising 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,” © and ® Tribune Media Services, Inc. The film is being overseen at the  studio by Andrea Giannetti and Devon Franklin.

QUVENZHANÉ WALLIS’ favorite pastimes are reading, singing, dancing, acting, and playing her iPod and Nintendo DS. Her favorite TV stars/singers are China McClain, Selena Gomez, and Miley Cyrus. Her favorite sports are basketball,
volleyball, dance and cheerleading. Her upcoming films include a role in Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and director Steve McQueen.

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