Smith’s daughter, “Whip My Hair” singer Willow Smith, will star in a remake of the 1982 musical film.
Actor Will Smith (Independence Day, Hancock) and rapper Jay-Z have collaborated before, co-producing the Broadway Fela!, which went on to win three Tony Awards. The pair are looking to repeat their success with the musical theatre genre, remaking 1982’s Annie, a film based on the 1977 musical of the same name. The film, which marks the first feature film collaboration between the two, is being imagined as a star vehicle for Smith’s 10-year-old daughter, Willow. Jay-Z has already invested in Willow’s musical career; his record label Roc Nation produced her certified platinum single, “Whip My Hair.”
Deadline quotes the official press release, which in turn quotes Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad as saying, “The time is right to bring back Annie to the big screen. Of course, we’re true believers in Willow’s talent and believe she will be perfect in this role. Combining Willow with the Overbrook team that reimagined Karate Kid and the spectacular Jay-Z makes this a dream project.” The 1982 film featured Albert Finney, Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, and Bernadette Peters; I have no doubt that Smith and Jay-Z will be able to accumulate the same star power for this remake.
Jay-Z is already familiar with at least one of the musical’s best known songs; in 1999, he sampled the orphan anthem “It’s a Hard Knock Life” for his song “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem).”