Reboots and remakes have become a trend in Hollywood over the last few years. Classic works of literature and science fiction that have already been made into successful feature films are getting the reboot treatment.

Broadway is not different as it was announced a few months ago that rap mogul Shaun ‘Jay Z’ Carter would be producing a remake of the popular orphan tale, Annie – and that the little red head with a heart of gold would be replaced by the incredibly talented Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Now the film has begun production in New York and the full star studded cast has been announced.

Wallis plays the titular role as Annie. While the rest of the starring roles belong to Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz. Also joining the cast are Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (Lost), Amanda Troya, Eden Duncan Smith, Nicolette Pierini, and Zoe Colletti.

Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck (Easy A) is taking the helm for the musical comedy. Other big name producers include the aforementioned Jay Z, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith. While this is Will Gluck’s first time directing a musical, this is not Jay Z’s first time producing a soundtrack for a feature film. He recently teamed up with director Baz Lurhman to produce the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby.

It was originally planned for Will & Jada Pinkett Smith’s daughter, Willow Smith, to take on the role of Annie. It was her decision to not pursue the role in order to focus on being a pre-teen (seriously); the role then went to Quvenzhané Wallis, who captivated audiences around the world with the Academy Award-nominated film, Beasts of the Southern Wild. Wallis may not be the household name, but being in a remake of  a classic Broadway play will certainly change that.

I have high hopes for this Annie reboot. Gluck is a talented comedic director and the star power alone is enough evidence that this remake will be done right. Jay Z created an impressive soundtrack with The Great Gatsby, and with the help of Will Smith, I believe he can strike gold again. Annie has an impressive cast filled with award-winners, and a very talented (and incredibly young) Academy Award nominated actress in the lead role.

Annie will be in theaters Christmas 2014.

Source: Sony Pictures