The first trailer for the hotly-awaited reimagined and remixed version of the musical Annie is now available, revealing details about how screenwriters Will Gluck, Aline Brosh McKenna, and Emma Thompson (yes, that Emma Thompson) have updated the Broadway musical.
First, the new setting is modern day New York. Local billionaire Benjamin Stacks (stacks of 100 dollar bills, get it?) is running for Mayor. He arranges to spend time with an orphan name Annie (she’s still living a “Hard Knock Life”) because being seen with her helps his candidacy.
Annie (Quvenzhané Wallis) is adorable. Anyone who saw her Academy Award nominated debut as Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild knows the ten year-old actress has talent and charisma. In the trailer she perfectly fits the role of the cute and quippy charismatic tyke. What’s more, she can belt out a song.
Jamie Foxx is Daddy Warb–, I mean Benjamin Stacks. We know he can sing from his Academy Award winning turn as Ray Charles in Ray and a recording career. Unfortunately, he’s not heard singing in the trailer, perhaps because producer Jay Z wants to wait and get people in the theatre before springing his new hip hop arrangements on the crowd.
The final top-billed star is Cameron Diaz as the cranky yet comedic villainess Miss Hannigan. She is stuck running the orphanage instead of have the life she desires as the wife of George Clooney. (Insert drummer’s rim shot here.)Not shown in the trailer is Bobby Cannavale, the stage and TV actor now featured in Blue Jasmine.
Yes, it seems the humor has been updated, but overall is pitched at the same broad and sweet PG level you would expect from a Columbia Pictures musical targeted for a Christmas release.
The preview may have some of you wishing the movie would go ahead and open “Tomorrow.” Unfortunately, my count has it being 284 tomorrows until December 19th, the date of public opening. Look for me – I’ll be the one on the aisle with a hot dog and Sno-Caps.