With a Christmas Day 2014 release date recently set for Sony’s remake of Annie, progress on the film’s production is heating up – with Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis cast a few weeks ago for the lead role that original choice Willow Smith outgrew. The film is being produced by Jay-Z, who released an updated arrangement of the musical’s famous song Hard Knock Life in 1999 (later covered by Dr. Evil and Mini-Me in Goldmember), with Will Smith co-producing through his company Overbrook Entertainment. Emma Thompson was selected to write the script for Smith and Jay-Z’s remake in 2011.
The role of ‘Daddy’ Oliver Warbucks, the wealthy but cold-hearted munitions industrialist who eventually takes young Annie under his wing, was played by Albert Finney in the 1982 adaptation of the Broadway musical, which remains the best-known film version so far. Aside from Wallis’ casting we’ve had little news regarding the potential actors who might be appearing in this Will Gluck-directed remake, but there is a rather interesting rumor going around as to who might soon sign on for the Daddy Warbucks role: Justin Timberlake.
This news necessitates a heavy “rumor only” disclaimer – especially since Sony’s reps have issued a statement saying it’s not true (though, it wouldn’t be the first time official PR denials turned out to be true).
According to The New York Post:
“Justin Timberlake could team with Jay-Z yet again. Hollywood sources are buzzing that [Justin Timberlake is] being considered to star as Daddy Warbucks.”
The reports don’t sound completely off-base, however, since Justin Timberlake has history with several of the people already involved in the project. He played the male lead in director Will Gluck’s 2011 comedy Friends with Benefits, featured on the single “Switch Signs” with Will Smith and The Artist Formerly Known as Snoop Dogg, and collaborated with Jay-Z on “Suit & Tie.”
That said, could Timberlake deliver a solid performance as a younger version of Daddy Warbucks? While plenty of moviegoers continue to criticize the musician and actor for his boy band days, Timberlake has racked up a successful (and enjoyable) film resume – including The Social Network and Trouble with the Curve, among others (not to mention fan-favorite appearances on Saturday Night Live). Plus, whether you’re a fan of his music or not, Timberlake would definitely bring much-needed singing talent to the musical role.
Of course, if the Timberlake buzz turns out to be just a rumour, there are a number of other actors that could be considered for the role. Personally, I’d love to see James Avery get the job – mostly out of a desire to see Philip ‘Uncle Phil’ Banks revived for the big screen! Find a part for Will Smith somewhere in the cast and the reunion would no doubt bring a tear to the eye of any audience member who grew up in the nineties.
Do the Timberlake rumors make you happy, or is there someone else that you’d like to see in the Daddy Warbucks role? With only the lead actress confirmed so far, feel free to share your ideas for a dream cast in the comments.
Annie is out in theaters in December 25, 2014.
Source: The New York Post