Willow Smith To Star In Annie Remake
Willow Smith knows nothing about a “hard knock life” but that’s not stopping her from playing the world’s favorite orphan in a remake of Annie.
The original film (an adaption of the 1977 stage musical of the same name, which in turn was based on the 1924 Little Orphan Annie comic strip) is set during the Great Depression. It sees Annie miraculously move from Hudson Street Orphanage in downtown Manhattan to a mansion on the Upper East Side with billionaire Daddy Warbucks, who eventually falls for her charms and adopts her. A host of colorful characters are met along the way including the orphanage’s alcoholic caretaker Miss Hannigan, her crook brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily St. Regis, Daddy Warbucks’s secretary and love interest Grace Farrell, his bodyguard Punjab and of course, the amazing cast of little girls housed in the orphanage.
The remake is being developed by Sony Pictures and produced by Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith in a joint venture with Jay-Z. Annie holds special meaning to Jay, whose 1998 track “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”—based on one of the film’s songs—was his most commercial hit to date, charting worldwide and featured in Mike Myer‘s 2002 film Austin Powers in Goldmember.
“The Overbrook Entertainment family and I have a unified vision,” Jay-Z said in a statement. “We’ve already produced a Tony Award-winning play and we’re developing a true superstar in Willow. This venture into film development and production is a perfect next step with teams that are accomplished, creative, and innovative.”
Ten-year-old Willow’s career is blossoming faster than many who are double (even triple) her age. Her first acting role came at the age of seven with her father in I Am Legend (2007), followed by Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) and recent appearances on the TV show True Jackson, VP. Her debut single, last year’s “Whip My Hair,” was a worldwide hit that got her signed to Jay’s Roc Nation label (she’s currently working on her album), prompting him to say about her: “[Willow] has an energy and enthusiasm about her music that is truly infectious.She has child innocence but she has a clear vision of what she wants and who she wants to be.”
Check out “Hard Knock Life” from the original film:
Check out Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)”: