It’s getting to the point where there’s a Glee version of just about every pop sensation or classic song conceived, and the show itself remains as popular as ever. So it comes as little surprise that its creator, Ryan Murphy, is being eyed as a potential candidate to helm Sony Pictures and Will Smith’s remake of the musical Annie.
Big Will’s daughter, Willow of “Whip My Hair” fame, is set to play the famous optimistic orphan herself, while the remake will feature musical contributions by rapper Jay-Z – who’s already presented the world with his updated version of the classic Annie tune “It’s the Hard Knock Life”.
Deadline has rightly pointed out that Murphy’s involvement with the new take on Annie is far from a sure thing, since he’s being pursued to helm most every upcoming musical project, be it a Rocky Horror Picture Show remake for Fox or a Wicked adaptation by Universal. Of course, Willow Smith is less concerned about who will be calling the shots on the film set and more interested in snagging Brad Pitt to play her Daddy Warbucks, but you can’t really blame the kid for that.
The plan seems to be that the Jay-Z and the Smith clan will be re-interpreting the song & dance tale of a spirited young girl who finds a loving parent in the form of a business-minded billionaire for a more modern-day audience. Whether that means a significant reworking of the musical score, a change in setting from the Depression era to the 21st century, or a combination of the two is not yet clear.
Willow Smith may be anything but the splitting image of a red-haired, freckled young girl that jumps to mind when everyone thinks of Annie, but she certainly has the looks to play a cute and innocent kid with a big heart onscreen – and that’s good enough for now.
There’s no denying that Murphy’s Glee has once again re-invigorated interest in the musical genre, which made a comeback in the early 2000s but has since been lagging in terms of both popularity and quality (Nine, looking at you). Does that mean the world wants to see a new version of Annie? Judging by the reactions to the remake so far, the project has at least caught the attention of many moviegoers, whether they’re interested or hate the idea on principle.
Will Smith’s kids are certainly benefiting from the blockbuster star’s popularity, being set up with their own starring vehicles and all - but is that really such a bad thing?
Look for a director, be it Murphy or someone else entirely, to sign on for Annie in the near future.