Quvenzhane Wallis, the Oscar-nominated star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” gets a new lease on a hard-knock life in the first trailer for “Annie,” an upcoming remake of the beloved stage and screen musical.
Directed by Will Gluck (“Easy A”) and produced by Will and Jada Smith and hip-hop mogul Jay Z, the new “Annie” stars 10-year-old Wallis as the intrepid, orphaned youngster who gets an opportunity to escape the tyranny of her cruel headmistress after a chance encounter with a wealthy mayoral candidate.
Cameron Diaz plays the headmistress, Miss Hannigan, channeling some of her “Bad Teacher” naughtiness, and Jamie Foxx plays Benjamin Stacks, this movie’s equivalent of Daddy Warbucks. Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale also star.
Opening Dec. 19 from Columbia Pictures, the long-gestating movie had been slated to feature the Smiths’ daughter, Willow, in the lead role, but she aged out of consideration.
The “Annie” remake updates the setting from Depression-era New York to the present day and includes topical gags referencing George Clooney and Facebook, but it appears that the arc of the story and syrupy tone have been retained.
“When did this city get so musical?” Diaz hammily asks in one scene. In another, Foxx mawkishly declares, “Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of your face.”
Also preserved, of course, are the classic songs of “Annie.” The trailer, which you can watch above, is set to versions of “It’s a Hard-Knock Life” (famously sampled by producer Jay Z in 1998) and “Tomorrow.” Not shown singing is Foxx, who won an Oscar for his performance as the legendary R&B musician Ray Charles in the biopic “Ray.”