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Quvenzhane Wallis cast as Annie

Quvenzhane Wallis has been cast in the title role of the new "Annie" film being executive produced by Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
Quvenzhane wallis 2013 02 25Enlarge
Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, 9, arrives on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards on Feb. 24, 2013, in Hollywood. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Quvenzhane Wallis, the youngest best-actress nominee at the Academy Awards, has been cast in the title role of the new Annie film being executive produced by Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

According to BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat, 12-year-old Willow Smith was initially meant to play the lead in the upcoming production, but she said she decided to change her focus to enjoying her childhood.

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"With the recent Academy Award nomination and critical acclaim, Quvenzhane Wallis is a true star and we believe her portrayal as Annie will make her a true worldwide star," Sony production president Hannah Minghella said in a statement, noted CBS News. "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 9-year-old lead in Beasts of the Southern Wild will star in a contemporary adaptation of the Broadway musical directed by Will Gluck, reported USA Today. The new Annie is set to be released during the 2014 holiday season.

The new version of the Annie film will be set in modern-day New York and will feature the song "Tomorrow," which made an appearance in the original version of the movie in 1982, continued Newsbeat. Actress and writer Emma Thompson has been working on the screenplay, while some of the songs featured in the upcoming film will be newly added and some old ones will be removed.

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