Willow Smith-Led ANNIE Film to Start Filming in Spring 2013
According to a report by The Sun, the new Annie film starring Willow Smith will begin production in Spring 2013 in New York City. The film is being developed by Sony Pictures and produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's Production Company, Overbrook Entertainment. In January of 2011, Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad said in a statement, "The time is right to bring back 'Annie' to the big screen. Of course, we're true believers in Willow's talent and believe she will be perfect in this role." Emma Thompson has signed on to write the screenplay.
As previously announced, the upcoming Broadway stage version of ANNIE will star Katie Finneran (Promises, Promises, Noises Off) as Miss Hannigan. ANNIE opens November 8 at the Palace Theatre (1567 Broadway at 47th Street). Previews begin October 3. The show features music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and book by Thomas Meehan, based on the newspaper character "Little Orphan Annie" by Harold Gray. The new production of ANNIE is directed by three-time Tony Award-winner James Lapine and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
Eleven-year-old Lilla Crawford (Billy Elliot) will star as Annie, with Emily Rosenfeld as Molly, the littlest orphan; Tyrah Skye Odoms as Kate, the next-to-littlest orphan; Junah Jang as Tessie, the cry-baby orphan; Georgi James as Pepper, the toughest orphan; Madi Rae DiPietro as July, the quietest orphan and Taylor Richardson as Duffy, the biggest orphan. Jaidyn Young will be the standby for the roles of Annie, Pepper, Duffy and July. Richardson will understudy the role of Annie.
The original production of ANNIE opened April 21, 1977, starring Andrea McArdle at the Alvin Theatre and went on to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, seven Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the Grammy for Best Cast Show Album and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book (Thomas Meehan) and Best Score (Charles Strouse, Martin Charnin). The show was one of the biggest Broadway musical hits of the 1970s, running for almost six years and playing 2,377 performances.
The score for ANNIE includes "Maybe," "It's the Hard Knock Life," "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile," "Easy Street," "I Don't Need Anything But You" and the eternal anthem of optimism, "Tomorrow".