That sturdy comic strip-to-stage-to-movie warhorse Little Orphan Annie is getting a remake and now a star: Quvenzhane Wallis. The Beast of the Southern Wild star, the youngest ever Best Actress Oscar nominee, will star in a modernized remake of the stage musical. 9-year-old Wallis attended last night’s Oscars looking fine, and appropriate and carrying a puppy purse.
The new Annie is being produced by Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z; Willow Smith was originally going to star but she got too big to be spunky. Emma Thompson (Sybil Trelawny or Nanny MacPhee depending on where you stand) will write the script.
Little Orphan Annie the comic strip was created by Harold Gray and ran until 2010. Gray’s early strip is considered to be one of the great comic strip masterpieces, and has been collected in the Library of American Comics series.
Annie the musical by Straus and Charnin gave the world the song “Tomorrow” and a chance for young girls to warble on stages around the world since it debuted in 1977. It also gave Jay-Z a great sample. Come to think of it, that guy is obsessed with Annie! It was also a previous movie, directed by John Huston and starring Eileen Quinn and Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks.
Wallis is said to enjoy singing and dancing in her spare time—appropriate activities for a child her age—and we know she’s got pluck and acting chops, and we can’t wait to hear her dig in to “Maybe.”
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.