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Quvenzhane Wallis, the Oscar-nominated star of Beasts of the Southern Wild, will play the title role in Annie, Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad and president of production Hannah Minghella said Sunday.
The film is scheduled to be released during the 2014 holiday season.
“With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhane Wallis is a true star, and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star,” Minghella said. “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 being directed by Will Gluck (Easy A) 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 revising the film’s screenplay, which was written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the stage musical Annie, with the book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin — which in turn was based on the comic strip Little Orphan Annie.
The film is being overseen at the studio by Andrea Giannetti and Devon Franklin.
The musical premiered on Broadway in 1977 and saw a brief revival 20 years later. A new production with Lilla Crawford in the title role has been playing on the Great White Way since November. It was filmed in 1982 by director John Huston with stars including Aileen Quinn as Annie, Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry and Bernadette Peters.
Wallis, repped by ICM Partners and attorneys Jamie Feldman and Linda Lichter, next appears in Steve McQueen‘s Twelve Years a Slave.
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