Families are going to be singing and dancing in movie theater aisles this Christmas with not one but two big Broadway musicals being brought to the screen, and while young girls may be divided between them, there’s no denying that the staying power of the musical Annie will play a large part in that being a movie they’ll want to see.
Based on the long-running comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray, Annie first appeared on Broadway in 1977 before being adapted into a movie in 1982 by the late John Huston. 17 years later, director Rob Marshall (whose Into the Woods opens on Christmas Day) took a crack at Annie for a television movie, again based on the Broadway musical.
Directed by Will Gluck (Easy A), this is a very different Annie, one more in tune with kids today and the real world, particularly New York City, as she’s now a foster child played by Qhvenzhané Wallis, who famously became the youngest person to ever be nominated for an Oscar with her first acting role in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
This time, Daddy Warbucks has been replaced by Jamie Foxx’s Will Stacks, a cell phone mogul and billionaire who is running for the mayor of New York. He’s aided in his campaign by his long-time assistant Grace (Rose Byrne) and his sleazy campaign manager Guy (Bobby Cannavale). Miss Hannigan is still around but this time she’s played by Cameron Diaz, as a has-been singer who is fostering young orphan girls mainly to get money from the city to pay her rent and keep her supply of liquor.
All the familiar songs from the musical have been reworked into modern-day versions with everyone having at least one major musical number, and it’s a musical that’s as much of a family-friendly comedy. And yes, this Annie has an adorable dog named Sandy as well.
A few weeks back, ComingSoon.net had a chance to talk with Qhvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale at the New York junket, and you can watch the highlights of said interviews in the video player below.
Annie opens nationwide on Friday, November 19.