Oscars 2013: Quvenzhane Wallis of ‘Beasts’ to star as ‘Annie’

Quvenzhane Wallis arrives at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

Quvenzhane Wallis may not walk off with a best actress Academy Award on Sunday night, but Oscar day brought official news of a prize role for the 9-year-old “Beasts of the Southern Wild” star: She’ll star as “Annie” in a new take on the classic orphan girl.

The film, due for release in late 2014, is to be directed by “Easy A” helmer Will Gluck and produced by Sony’s Columbia Pictures division, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media and Gluck.

In a statement, Hannah Minghella, president of production for the studio, said: “With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhane Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star.”


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The Smiths’ daughter, Willow, was originally slated for the role but apparently aged out of consideration as the project has taken several years to get off the ground. In January 2011, Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad said in a statement that Willow “will be perfect in this role.”

Overbrook has been behind the films “The Karate Kid” -- which starred Willow’s brother, Jaden -- “Ali,” “I Am Legend,” “Pursuit of Happyness” and “Hitch,” among others.

Jay-Z is among the Marcy Media producers on the project. Columbia’s statement said Gluck is currently revising the screenplay, written by Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the musical stage play.

Wallis will also be seen in the upcoming “Twelve Years a Slave” directed by Steve McQueen and starring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender. The film, due this year, is based on the true 1800s story of a free New York man being sold into slavery; Wallis plays Chiwetel Ejiofor’s young daughter.



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