This December, fans of movie musicals will be getting two films that can help fulfill their need for song and dance numbers on the big screen: Disney’s Into the Woods, based on the famous dark fairy tale mashup Broadway musical by James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim, and Annie, the new cinematic rendition of the comic strip-turned hit stage musical/film, starring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx (Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Oscar-nominee Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
A newly-released full-length trailer for Annie (see above) is more plot-oriented than its teaser trailer predecessor. This preview focuses on the relationship that forms between the wealthy New York City mayoral candidate Benjamin Stacks (Foxxx) – the renamed version of the Daddy Warbucks character – and plucky orphan Annie (Wallis), when a fortuitous turn of events convinces Stacks make the young girl part of his political bid. Batman references, Cameron Diaz jokes, and nods to past versions of the musical follow (see: Stacks being secretly bald).
Modern sensibilities and pop culture savvy are to be expected from Annie director Will Gluck, who’s carved out a niche – putting contemporary spins on genre fare often beholden to outdated formula – with his coming of age comedy Easy A, as well as the romantic comedy Friends with Benefits. Bringing more cutesy warmth and heart to the table is screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, whose previous work includes The Devil Wears Prada and We Bought a Zoo.
Will Smith and Jay-Z are among the executive producers on this new screen version of Annie. In addition to writing a few new songs (which shall, in turn, qualify for awards season consideration), Jay-Z has reportedly rearranged the classic Annie tunes for the movie, along the lines of his “Hard Knock Life” remix. Some might protest, but such changes to the musical’s traditional form may allow this version to thrive as a modern re-interpretation. Or maybe not, we’ll see.
Rounding out the Annie cast are such character actor types as Rose Byrne (Neighbors), Bobby Cannavale (Chef), and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Bullet to the Head).
Annie opens in U.S. theaters on December 19th, 2014.
Source: Sony Pictures