'Annie' Remake Loses Willow Smith, Gains 'Easy A' Director Will Gluck
by Ben Pearson
January 30, 2013
Just over two years ago, word came out that Will Smith and his Overbrook Entertainment were teaming with Sony/Columbia Pictures to produce a remake of the classic musical Annie, with Jay-Z working on the soundtrack and Will's daughter Willow Smith whipping her hair back and forth in the lead role. "Glee" and "American Horror Story" creator Ryan Murphy was pegged as the director, and Emma Thompson was said to be writing the screenplay. Then things got quiet. But now Deadline is reporting that Easy A director Will Gluck has officially signed on to direct, but Willow Smith is no longer taking the lead. More below!
Gluck is revising the screenplay, which was originally written by Emma Thompson and then handed off to Aline Brosh McKenna (Morning Glory, We Bought A Zoo) for a rewrite. Will Smith, James Lassiter, and Jada Pinkett Smith are producing for Overbrook, while Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith are producing through a relatively new enterprise called Marcy Media. Willow has outgrown the lead role of the wily young orphan, so it will have to be recast moving forward because filming is set to start this fall for a 2014 release.
Look, I'm a big Will Smith fan, but this whole thing he's doing where he shoehorns his kids into movies is starting to get annoying, so I'm glad Willow won't be appearing here. Jayden is bad enough - he was the worst part of The Day The Earth Stood Still remake - and After Earth is a big question mark at this point, so it's probably best that the Smith family takes a little break from complete Hollywood domination. Gluck's comedic background also seems like a good fit for this story, and I'm glad Sony ultimately ended up going with him instead of Ryan Murphy. Things are slowly coming together for Annie, and hopefully they'll cast an up-and-comer in the lead based on pure talent.
Reader Feedback - 7 Comments
Cast...Dickie Roberts...or the girl from Beat of the Southern Wild...perhaps Elle Fanning?
Xerxexx on Jan 30, 2013
Elle Fanning, too old. The original Annie ( Aileen Quinn) Was about ten.
Crab on Jan 30, 2013
It's a Hard Knock Life...for Willow. T_T
DAVIDPD on Jan 30, 2013
Well now this frees her up to work on a follow up to Whip My Hair. Someone please get to work on Men in Black 4 so Will Smith has something to occupy his time.
Wooster66 on Jan 30, 2013
You lost me at "Annie Remake..." **violent fart**
Alan Trehern on Jan 31, 2013
The sun will come out...tomorrow...
PBGray on Jan 31, 2013
I'm a big fan of Willow and would love to see her act in almost anything, but this is good news. She was wrong for the role and so is the choice of either Quvenshane Wallis or Amandla Stenberg (I've enjoyed both of their work too). The character of "Annie" is an iconic one which was written as and is popularly known as a little white girl with red curly hair... and that's the way it should stay. Now don't call me racist because that's not the reason, I'd be equally against remaking "The Jeffersons" with a white cast for example. I'm just a big stickler for staying true to the original source material (like when a movie is made from a book). This is only ONE rumored way they're messing with this story/play/movie... I hear they might be modernizing it, setting it in the present or more recent past rather than the 1920's or 1930's where it's supposed to take place... that and altering the well loved soundtrack/songs. QUIT messing with "Annie" folks, write your own NEW story if you think there's so much wrong with this classic (it's fine as it is). So much for Will Smith creating another job for one of his kids. Notice how all of Jaden and Willows acting jobs are ones Will created or had a hand in? Don't think they've had to audition against other kids for any of them. Will and Jada need to send their kids out there on their own merits, let them audition against others for things so they can be taken seriously and can't have people claiming they're only getting roles because of their parents (I want to see Willow and Jaden succeed).
Steven Anderson on Feb 1, 2013
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