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Fri Nov 21 18:26:41 SAST 2014

Youngest ever Oscar nominee Wallis to play Annie

Sapa-AP | 26 February, 2013 08:35
Quvenzhane wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Image by: PICTURE SUPPLIED

Actress Quvenzhane Wallis, fresh from the Oscars spotlight as the youngest ever best actress nominee, is to play the lead role in ‘Annie’ in a Tinseltown remake of the hit Broadway musical, filmmakers said.

The nine-year-old, who drew praise for her amazingly mature performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, will play the title role in Annie, also a remake of the Oscar-nominated 1982 movie.

"With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, (Wallis) is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star," said Hannah Minghella, Columbia Pictures production head.

"She is an extraordinary young talent with an amazing range, not only as an actress but as a singer and dancer, and we can't wait for audiences to further discover her."

The new Annie - produced by Overbrook Entertainment, Marcy Media and Sony Pictures - will be released around December 2014, directed by Will Gluck and with producers including James Lassiter, Will Smith and Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter.

Gluck is currently revising the film's screenplay, written by British actress Emma Thompson and rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna based on the stage musical.

Wallis - whose favourite pastimes include singing and dancing, basketball, volleyball and cheerleading, according to the filmmakers - has already worked on an upcoming film, Twelve Years a Slave with Brad Pitt.

She also has made Boneshaker, a short about an African family lost in America.

Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence won the best actress Oscar on Sunday, beating shortlisted rivals including Wallis and, coincidentally, the oldest ever nominee in the category, 86-year-old French star Emmanuelle Riva.

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