Deadline reports that Sony Pictues has hired Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends With Benefits) to take on directing duties for its upcoming reboot of the Broadway musical ANNIE. While Will and Jada Smith's daughter Willow was in line to take on the title role, she is no longer attached to the project. Most likely the actress has become too old to play the beloved red-headed orphan.
The movie, described as a "contempory" version of the musical, will begin filming this fall for a 2014 release. The project will be produced by James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Will Smith through their Overbrook Entertainment company, and by Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, Jay Brown, and Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith through Marcy Media.
In addition to helming the film, Gluck will also revise the screenplay originally penned by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna. It was based on the musical and its book written by Thomas Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin. That project was based on the original Little Orphan Annie comic strip.
Commenting on the news of Gluck's appointment, Sony's Doug Belgrad and Hannah Minghella said, "After seeing firsthand his work on several films for Sony, including Easy A and Friends with Benefits, we're huge fans of Will Gluck. At the helm of Annie, he will bring to this film all the charm of the original Broadway production while also appealing to a new generation."
Rapper JAY Z stated, "For Marcy Media's first foray into film, we couldn't ask for better partners and mentors than Overbrook Entertainment. We are excited to work with Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Entertainment. My well-known affinity for the classic 'Hard Knock Life' makes Annie a natural vehicle to lead us into the world of the cinema."