At this point, Sony Pictures’ remake of the musical classic Annie is turning into the latest Mad Libs production to come out of Hollywood, with studio executives just randomly yelling out names of people who should be working on getting the long-in-development feature off the ground.
The project certainly made sense at first as, back in January of 2011, it was announced that Will Smith would be producing the project as a potential vehicle for his daughter, Willow Smith (thank the success of The Karate Kid for that). A few weeks after that, we got wind that Jay-Z would also be producing alongside Smith, which continued sound like a solid way to make a fresh, new Annie, and then Emma Thompson came on board to write the script and any concept we might have had of the new film went right out the window. Thompson’s screenwriting work in the kiddie realm primarily consists of the Nanny McPhee films, which certainly are not the type of updated, contemporary work that this new Annie seemed to dictate.
But that’s not all! Last summer, rom-com screenwriting queen Aline Brosh McKenna was brought on to rewrite Thompson’s work, making the film’s vision even more unclear. What was the writer of such films as Three to Tango, Laws of Attraction, The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses, and Morning Glory going to bring to the table of a beloved family classic? Well, who knows, but now we can all keep up our head-scratching because Deadline Hollywood reports that Sony has set Will Gluck to direct the new film. No, you read that right, Will Gluck, who directed the very funny Easy A and the much less funny Friends With Benefits. Talk about a re-imagining.
Gluck will also “revise” the film’s screenplay, all but ensuring this thing will have a too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen vibe, as it’s been penned by three people with very different styles and genres. The film is still being billed as a “contemporized” take on the material which will borrow heavily from both the original musical and the Little Orphan Annie comic strip.
Also of interest? Young Willow is no longer attached for the role that seemed to be getting tailor-made for her. The actress was just nine when development on the project began, and she has now aged out of the Annie role.
The outlet reports that Will Smith and Jay-Z are still on board to produce, along with James Lassiter, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jay Brown, and Tyran Smith. The film is aiming for a 2014 release.