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In his latest keep-it-in-the-family move, Will Smith is exploring with Sony the potential for a remake of the musical "Annie," with daughter Willow as the star, sources say.

Smith, who developed "The Karate Kid" starring his son Jaden, would produce through his Overbrook shingle.

While details about the "Annie" retooling are still in development stages, rapper Jay-Z, who worked with Willow on her pop hit "Whip My Hair," is in talks to collaborate on the music.

Project reps were tight-lipped about whether the pic would be a contemporary version and whether it will include any original songs.

Sony's summer hit "Karate Kid" made more than $350 million worldwide and likely helped pave the way for exploring new ground with the "Annie" redo.


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Will Smith 'Annie' remake with Sony confirmed

As Variety reported last week, Overbrook Entertainment's Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and James Lassiter and Ken Stovitz will be teaming with hip-hop star Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter to form a new joint venture to develop and produce feature films.

As reported by Variety last week, one of the label's first projects being considered is a re-imagining of the musical "Annie" at Sony, with Smith's daughter, Willow, in talks to star.

"Annie" re-boot will be produced by Overbrook and Carter.


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More news:
Source: http://www.billboard.com/column/the-juice/jay-z-partners-with-will-jada-smith-for-1005012802.story#/column/the-juice/jay-z-partners-with-will-jada-smith-for-1005012802.story

Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and their partners at Overbrook Entertainment have formed a joint-venture with Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter to develop and produce major motion pictures. First up? A remake of the Broadway musical "Annie," in which Will and Jada's daughter, Willow -- who recently signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label -- will star in.

Although the project is in its preliminary stages, it will be developed with Sony Pictures Entertainment and produced by Overbrook and Jay.

The partnership between Will and Jada and Jay-Z began when the three decided to invest in the beauty line Carol's Daughter. Their next venture together was when they joined forces again to co-produce the Broadway play "Fela!" Since then, Willow, who is managed by Overbrook's Miguel Melendez, has signed to Roc Nation and released first single "Whip My Hair."

"The Overbrook Entertainment family and I have a unified vision. We've already produced a Tony Award-winning play and we're developing a true superstar in Willow," said Jay-Z in a statement. "This venture into film development and production is a perfect next step with teams that are accomplished, creative and innovative."

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'Glee's Ryan Murphy Courted To Direct 'Annie' With Willow Smith

EXCLUSIVE: Glee creator Ryan Murphy is Sony Pictures’ top choice to direct a re-imagining of the Broadway musical Annie, with Willow Smith playing the lovable orphan. The project was recently set at Sony Pictures by Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith in the joint venture they formed with Jay-Z to generate films. Sony Pictures has made the approach to Murphy, but it’s early days.

Though Willow Smith is a relative newcomer to the screen (she has I Am Legend and Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl on her resume), she scored a hit record with Whip My Hair!, and Sony's bet on her brother Jaden in the Overbrook-produced Karate Kid remake resulted in a big hit. Murphy is also well regarded at Sony, where he directed Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts and made a $5 million deal to write and direct another picture with her. Murphy’s Glee success has turned him into the go-to guy on studio musicals, as he’s been courted by Fox for a Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, as well as to possibly turn the Broadway stage hit Wicked into a film at Universal.


Edited by Ale
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'Glee's Ryan Murphy No Go For 'Annie'

Glee's Ryan Murphy, who was Sony Pictures and Will Smith's choice to direct Willow Smith in the re-imagining of the Broadway musical Annie, has dropped out of contention. Talks broke off and he's not doing the film, I'm told. The project was recently set at Sony Pictures by Overbrook Entertainment partners James Lassiter, Ken Stovitz, Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith in the joint venture they formed with Jay-Z to generate films. Willow, who is Smith's daughter, will play the lovable orphan.


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Will Smith Wants Emma Thompson to Adapt Annie For His Daughter

Leapin' lizards! It's been almost thirty years since John Huston's adaptation of the Broadway smash Annie hit movie theaters, but now insiders tell Vulture exclusively that Will Smith and Jay-Z are in negotiations with Oscar-winning screenwriter and actress Emma Thompson to re-adapt the screenplay for an updated version of the musical that would star Smith's youngest progeny, Willow.

If the deal with Thompson goes through, the project will be the first fruit of the partnership between Smith and Jay-Z that Columbia Pictures announced back in January, but it won't be the first time that these principals have worked together: Thompson is currently co-starring with Smith as Agent O in Men in Black III, while Jay-Z, Smith and his spouse Jada Pinkett-Smith all served co-producers of the Broadway musical Fela!, nominated for 11 Tony Awards last year.

No word on whether Thompso (who recently scripted and starred in Universal Pictures' Nanny McPhee franchise) will also write herself into a role as the orphanage director who loves booze almost as much as she hates children, but here's hoping.


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I'm not sure how I feel about this. Annie is a classic and well loved story. I can't image them topping the original movie. Overbrook would typically partner with the right people to make this project but Jay-Z is not that right person. I grew up watching the movie as a kid and did the music in my early 20's. I find it hard to see this turning out amazing. They proved a lot of people wrong with Karate Kid (which I still haven't seen) based on the reviews I read.

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  • 9 months later...

Emma Thompson pens Annie script for Willow Smith

Emma Thompson has confirmed she is writing a new, modern version of the musical Annie.

Will Smith is producing the movie as a vehicle to star his 11-year-old daughter Willow Smith, while Jay-Z is in charge of the music and will write new tracks for the musical.

"I think it's a very good combination," Emma Thompson said.

"We're looking for directors so the management will come up with a director in the next week or two weeks."

Last year Glee creator Ryan Murphy was rumoured to be in the frame as a possible director.

"Then I'll do some work with them and we're hoping to shoot next year, so I'm very excited," she added.

Modern Annie

The most enduring vision of Annie comes from the 1982 film version that starred Albert Finney as Daddy Warbucks and Aileen Quinn as the young orphan from the title.

Emma Thompson confirmed again that Willow Smith was set to play a new Annie when filming starts in 2013 before adding "that's if she doesn't get too tall".

The film will be set in modern-day New York with a selection of new songs added.

"That was what was so great about it," Thompson said. "Some songs nobody liked so I ditched them."

She couldn't remember the names of the axed songs but when asked if Tomorrow was safe, Thompson said "that's in, weirdly".

Thompson stars alongside Will Smith in Men in Black 3 but the pair met on an earlier film project.

"I know Will from before because I did a little bit on I Am Legend with him and we got on very well."

The Oscar-winning actress and screenwriter did joke that she was "so modern" to be working with Jay-Z and the Smith family.

"I hope you like it, it should be really really great," she ended.


Edited by Ale
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I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'm currently working on a production of Annie (again) and I'm reminded of how magical the show is. The movie is a classic. If done right, I can see how a remake could be a good idea, but I'm really worried about where making a new version could go. Especially because I don't think Jay-Z is qualified to handle music for a movie...or to write music for it...ESPECIALLY AN AMERICAN CLASSIC!!

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