At this point, you might be forgiven for feeling a serious case of remake-fatigue. It seems every other film these days is a re-boot or a re-imagining of some beloved classic or other, with very little in the way of originality on display. With the release of its new trailer, however, it seems that it would be inadvisable to dismiss the upcoming new adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, Annie, as one of those tedious revisits. In fact, this one actually looks kind of awesome.
Annie is a comic book character. Well, a comic strip character, to be exact. Created by Harold Gray in his ‘Little Orphan Annie’ comic strip which debuted in August 1924, Annie was first adapted for radio in 1931, while David O. Selznick produced a film adaptation for RKO in 1932. It was not until 1977 that Annie made her first ever appearance on Broadway, however – with its now iconic musical format created by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin, and a book by Thomas Meehan. Hollywood legend John Huston then adapted the Broadway musical for cinema in 1982 – cementing the story of the abandoned little girl who bonds with a millionaire into the annals of pop culture history. Though a 1999 remake helmed by Chicago director Rob Marshall essentially sank without a trace, Will Smith envisioned a modernized version starring himself and his daughter, Willow – and so began the careful crafting of the version we will be enjoying over the holiday season this year.
Now directed by writer/producer Will Gluck (Easy A, Friends With Benefits), Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Lassiter and Jay-Z are still aboard the project as his fellow producers. The Smith father-daughter performing team have been replaced by Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhane Wallis, though, and – judging by this trailer – that may be the choice that knocks this film into the stratosphere.
In the phenomenal Quvenzhane Wallis, it looks like we have an Annie we can invest ourselves in. She’s feisty, she’s smart, and she can sing and dance with immense talent. Jamie Foxx seems to be working hard to hold his own against her onscreen, resulting in an all-too-rare display of his excellent dramatic and comedic skills combined. Add to these a supporting cast featuring Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids), Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine) and a deliciously sour Cameron Diaz in the role of Miss Hannigan, and we are hopefully headed for something quite special indeed.
The trailer hits all the legendary musical notes, while indicating that the tunes we all know and love have been updated and modernized along with the script – co-written by Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) and Academy Award winning screenwriter, Emma Thompson (Sense And Sensibility).
Annie’s millionaire benefactor is now Will Stacks – a New York City Mayoral candidate, looking to give his campaign a boost – and Miss Hannigan is now an uncaring foster mom, cramming unwanted kids into her apartment. It is unclear, however, whether the story has been at all altered beyond characterisation – since the tone throughout this brief teaser is bright and glorious, while that of the 1982 film featured a slightly sinister edge delivered by the pairing of Carol Burnett and Tim Curry, as the dastardly Miss Hannigan and her brother, Rooster. This trailer suggests the darker aspects may have been traded in for comedy and a warming of the heart, which would be fine by me.
Annie is released on December 19,th 2014 in the US, and February 6th, 2015 in the UK. Check out the new trailer below and let us know what you think.