Jay-Z's promotion of the Annie musical stretches back to fall 1998, when he sampled one of its signature showtunes, "It's the Hard-Knock Life for Us," in his Top 20 single "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)." Now he's teaming with producing partner Will Smith to bring an updated version of the Broadway classic to the big screen. Smith's daughter Willow, the nine-year-old who scored a Top 10 hit of her own this year with "Whip My Hair," in the leading role of Annie. Movieline reports:
"The time is right to bring back Annie to the big screen," said Columbia Pictures President Doug Belgrad in a statement. "Of course, we're true believers in Willow's talent and believe she will be perfect in this role.
Annie isn't the only musical getting the Carter family treatment (Sean Carter, of course, being Jay-Z's real name). Jay's wife Beyonce is currently in talks to star in a remake of A Star is Born, to be directed by Clint Eastwood:
Clint Eastwood is going to direct (and produce and most likely do the music) andBeyonce will headline a musical remake of 'A Star Is Born,' the Hollywood morality tale about an alcoholic actor on his way down who takes under his wing and nurtures a young female artist who eventually eclipses his star.
The film has been done three times before: in 1937 by William Wellman with Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; in 1954, directed by George Cukor with James Mason and Judy Garland (probably the most famous version, with Garland's rendition of 'The Man That Got Away'); and then again in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson.
Coincidentally, Will Smith is also on the short list of actors being courted to star alongside Beyonce in the film, a group that includes Sean "Diddy" Combs, Eddie Murphy, and Jon Hamm.