While we were sad to hear that Willow Smith pulled out of the remake of Annie, we cannot be more excited to report this breaking casting news! Nine-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild breakout Quvenzhané Wallis has officially signed on to star in Sony Pictures’ new big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical Annie. The fresh take on the beloved tale of the plucky orphan was originally developed by Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment production company and rapper Jay-Z’s Marcy Media as a starring vehicle for Smith’s daughter, Willow. But with the 12-year-old Willow having aged out of the role, Wallis—who EW learned earlier this month was in talks for the project—will now step in. Will Gluck (Easy A) is on board to direct the film.
“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,” Sony production president Hannah Minghella said in a statement. “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.” The film is slated for release during the holiday season of 2014.
Congrats Quvenzhané! Can’t wait to hear your rendition of “Tomorrow”!