A remake of Annie — updated to modern times, set in Detroit and possibly produced by "Hard-Knock Life"-lover Jay-Z — has been in the works for a while. Last year, Emma Thompson told the BBC she'd been working on the script for three years; we also heard that Willow Smith would star in the flick. But now, Shadow and Act reports that Willow is no longer going to star in the remake. Reasons are unclear: She might be too tall, too grown up, or just sort of "over it."
But the project does have a director — Will Gluck, who directed the very cute Emma Stone vehicle Easy A and the so-so slash decent comedy Friends with Benefits. Shadow and Act's Tambay A. Obenson notes: "As you can see, there apparently wasn't a single black director considered for the job... at least, none whose name has been made public." But Obenson has a casting suggestion:
I'm going to say it here first folks, with Willow Smith now out, is this a perfect opening for a rising star in Quvenzhané Wallis, who'll be 10 years old by the time shooting starts this fall, and has the more baby-like, little girl features that the role might call for?
I think Willow, despite being 12, may be too *grown* for this. And what other young black actress in that age group is hotter than Ms Wallis right now, with an Academy Award nomination on her resume, for her awesome work in 2012's indie film darling, Beasts of the Southern Wild?
The problem? Wallis is not known to be a singer. What is Amandla Stenberg doing right now?
Oh, also, I hereby submit for your consideration the name of Kanye West for the role of Daddy Warbucks. You're never fully dressed without Maison Martin Margiela.
Willow Smith Will No Longer Star In 'Annie' Remake; Might Quvenzhané Wallis Take Over? [Shadow and Act/Indiewire]