The big-budget remake of beloved musical "Annie" is nothing if not ambitious.
Developed by Jay-Z, who memorably sampled "Annie" for his huge hit "Hard Knock Life," and Will Smith, who originally designed the project as a vehicle for his daughter, Willow, this new version of "Annie" will feature a largely African American cast and be set in present day New York Quvenzhane Wallis, fresh from her Oscar nomination for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," is the new Annie and Jamie Foxx plays a character based on the Daddy Warbucks part from the original. And based on the just-released first teaser for the Christmas release, it's going to sleekly modernize the material while keeping all of those classic "Annie" elements that make it such a beloved musical.
We get to see a little bit of everything in the teaser -- the scope and complexity of the musical numbers, which have an agreeable crayon-colored look, the wonderful supporting cast (Cameron Diaz is Miss Hannigan and Rose Byrne is the mother-figure, an assistant to Foxx's character), and how Wallis is equipping herself as Annie (gamely, by the looks of it). What we don't get a glimpse of is the new musical numbers, since Jay-Z has supposedly composed a number of new songs for this version to supplement the already-classic songs by Charles Strouse and Martin Charnin.
The film has a screenplay that has been worked on by Emma Thompson (yes!), "We Bought a Zoo" scribe Aline Brosh McKenna, and eventual director Will Gluck ("Easy A," "Friends with Benefits"). This trailer has left us cautiously optimistic, at the very least, and the fact that they decided to take it to today while still maintaining a charmingly square aesthetic is pretty cool.
Look for a fuller trailer to come out some time this summer, ahead of its December 19, 2014 release date (when it will be squaring off against Disney's live action musical "Into the Woods").