Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and president of production Hannah Minghella, announced that 9 year-old Quavenzhane Wallis, the Oscar-nominated star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, will play the leading role in the upcoming Annie remake.
“With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhane Wallis is a true star, and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star,” Minghella said in a recent interview. “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.”
Will Gluck (Easy A) will direct the film, with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith will produce through Overbrook Entertainment alongwith Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran Smith through Marcy Media. The Smiths’ daughter, Willow, had originally been slated to play Annie but recentlt opted out of the project.
Annie originally premiered on Broadway in 1977. A new production with Lilla Crawford in the title role has been playing on the Great White Way since November. The first film adaption was in 1982 by director John Huston with stars including Aileen Quinn as Annie, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters.
Wallis is one of the youngest Oscar-nominated actors ever. She’s also shot a small role in Steve McQueen’s upcoming film, Twelve Years a Slave.
Annie will be in theaters for the 2014 holiday season.