Quvenzhané Wallis to star as Annie

Following her breathtaking, Oscar nominated performance in Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, there was no doubt that the nine year old acting sensation Quvenzhané Wallis was destined to be the next big thing in Hollywood. After a few weeks of rumours, it has now been confirmed that the young actress is indeed not wasting any time in continuing her acting career. Sony Pictures has confirmed that she has signed up for the title role of Annie in the remake of the hugely popular Broadway musical.

Directed by Will Gluck (Easy A) and produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through Overbrook Entertainment, the film was originally going to star Will and Jada’s 12-year-old daughter Willow Smith, who eventually had to pull out because of other commitments. This isn’t the first time Annie has made her way onto the screen with John Huston directing a version in 1982 starring Aileen Quinn in the titular role as well as Tim Curry (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) and Carol Burnett (Fame).

Annie is due to be released in 2014. Here’s the official press release from Sony…

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.”

Annie will be released during the winter holiday season in 2014. The film is being directed by Gluck and 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. Gluck is currently revising the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical stage play “Annie,” book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and on “Little Orphan Annie,” © and ® Tribune Media Services, Inc. The film is being overseen at the studio by Andrea Giannetti and Devon Franklin.

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.