Wearing his producer hat, Will Smith has already successfully rebooted one movie franchise, “The Karate Kid,” with son Jaden in the lead role, and now the veteran star reportedly has his eye on reviving another iconic film for daughter Willow.
According to Variety, Smith is in discussions with Sony about potentially remaking the 1982 movie musical “Annie” with Willow starring as the adorable singing orphan. Few details are available about the project, which is in the early development stages, but the magazine reports that Jay-Z — who signed the preteen “Whip My Hair” singer to his Roc Nation label last year — is in talks to work on music for the film.
It was unclear at press time if the movie would be a contemporary update of the story, which originated in 1924 as the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” then morphed into a hit Broadway musical in 1977 before being taken to the big screen by director John Huston.
The original film starred Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks, Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan, Bernadette Peters as Lily St. Regis and newcomer Aileen Quinn as Annie. The movie takes place during the Great Depression and finds redheaded cutie pie Annie living in an orphanage run by the cruel drunk Miss Hannigan. She is later adopted by billionaire “Daddy” Warbucks and treated to the lush life after a childhood filled with struggle.
In addition to being Willow’s musical mentor, Jay has a long history with the “Annie” franchise. He sampled the iconic song “Hard Knock Life” from the musical for his Grammy-nominated 1998 single, “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem),” from the Vol. 2 … Hard Knock Life album. The hip-hop mogul has spoken about how he connected with the rags-to-riches story of the musical’s grade-school star, telling NPR last year that he wrote a personal letter to the tune’s composers describing how much “Annie” meant to him growing up while asking for permission to sample it.
Variety hinted that, considering Sony banked more than $350 million on “The Karate Kid” last summer, it seems likely the studio will seriously consider the “Annie” re-do.
Do you think an updated “Annie” movie starring Willow Smith is a good idea? Share your opinions in the comments.