As Nikki Finke would probably say at a moment like this: TOLDJA!
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
Ok, so it’s not exactly a done deal, so maybe it won’t happen, but Entertainment Weekly is reporting exclusively that rising star Quvenzhané Wallis, is in the running to star in the Smith family’s long-in-development remake of the Broadway musical Annie, with Will Smith and his Overbrook Entertainment partners, Jada Pinkett Smith, and James Lassiter, producing the film, while Jay-Z (also a producer) scores it.
EW says that they learned of this via a Sony Pictures rep who stressed that a decision hasn’t been made yet.
Willow Smith (who was to star in the film), exited the project, as we reported a week ago, with Papa Smith later saying that Willow wasn’t all that interested anymore, and just wanted to be a kid, without the pressure of entertainment industry success.
As I noted last week, she had likely outgrown the role anyway, and I went on to assert my belief that, with Willow Smith out, this would be a perfect opening for a rising star in Quvenzhané Wallis, who’ll be 10 years old by the time shooting starts this fall, and has the more baby-like, little girl features that the role calls for.
And, as I asked before, if not Ms Wallis, then what other young black actress in that age group is hot enough right now, that she’d be showing up on Will and Jada’s radar? There aren’t many to choose from in the first place! And when you add the criteria that she’d likely need to be a girl with some notoriety (I really don’t see them going with a complete unknown, but I could be wrong), the list gets even shorter.
It seemed like a no-brainer to me. But the big question has always been, how well Ms Wallis can carry a tune, since this is a musical.