Will Smith, Jay-Z's Annie Remake Loses Willow Smith in Lead Role, Gains Director

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Will Smith, Jay-Z's <i>Annie</i> Remake Loses Willow Smith in Lead Role, Gains Director

A hard knock life, indeed. Willow Smith, who had been set to star in the title role of the reimagined Annie being developed by her parents and Jay-Z, has announced that, at the ripe age of 12, she is too old to be Annie.

But there is also good news for this remake of the 1982 movie musical: Sony announced it has hired Easy A and Friends with Benefits director Will Gluck to helm the project. Representatives for Sony said Gluck would “bring to this film all the charm of the original Broadway production while also appealing to a new generation.”

Gluck will revise the script for this version of Annie, which was penned by British actress Emma Thompson and was revised by Aline Brosh McKenna. Jay-Z, whose sample of the show tune “It’s the Hard Knock Life” in his 1998 song “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” we all remember, is to write the soundtrack for the film.

This would be the first cinematic collaboration between Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jay-Z, who produced the Broadway musical Féla, which won three Tonys in 2010. Production is aiming for a fall 2014 release date.