It's been rumored for weeks, but now it's confirmed that Quvenzhané Wallis, the young star of Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, which is up for four Oscars tonight, has scored the title role of Annie in Columbia Pictures' big screen version of the popular Broadway musical, directed by Will Gluck (Easy A).
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, the project is a new version of the Broadway musical based on the Harold Gray comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" which debuted on stage in 1977 before being turned into a movie directed by John Huston in 1982. Chicago director Rob Marshall then made a second movie based on the musical, this one for television, in 1999.
The project, which is scheduled to start filming this fall for release during the 2014 holiday season, was first going to star the Smiths' 12-year-old daughter Willow Smith, who already has a successful music and acting career. The 9-year-old Wallis is in Hollywood tonight for the 85th Oscars where she's the youngest person to ever receive an Oscar nomination.
Here's the official press release from Sony Pictures Entertainment:
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.”
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.
About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE's global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; home entertainment acquisition and distribution; a global channel network; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of entertainment in 159 countries. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com/
About Overbrook Entertainment
Overbrook Entertainment, founded by partners James Lassiter, Will Smith and run along with partner Jada Pinkett Smith, is committed to offering the highest quality entertainment focused in film and television and has produced a diverse slate of both critically acclaimed and blockbuster feature films, which have generated more than $2.5 billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts and even more in home video sales.
Some of Overbrook’s most successful films include ALI, HITCH, PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, I AM LEGEND, HANCOCK, SECRET LIVES OF BEES, and most recently THE KARATE KID. Overbrook's next feature project is AFTER EARTH, which is set for a June 7th, 2013 release. They are also producing Queen Latifah’s syndicated daytime talk show with Sony Pictures Television that will premiere this fall.