'Annie' 2014 Movie Release Date, Trailer, Cast & News: Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx Make Cast More Racially Diverse
The latest remake of the beloved American musical-turned-movie, "Annie" will surely see the sun come out, but this time it will be to a more diversified 'tomorrow' set in the bustling Big Apple.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that with its blockbuster backing -- including producers Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Shawn "JAY Z" Carter who is also on the film's soundtrack -- that "Annie" has a good shot at a successful box office run.
Besides, the A-list backing of the Broadway musical-turned-film, which hits theaters on Dec. 19, "Annie" stars Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, who takes the lead role as the first African-American "Annie." There are also new songs written by pop singer/songwriter Sia -- "Who Am I?," "Opportunity," and "The City's Yours," and "Moonquake Lake,"(performed with Beck), spins on the classics, as well as the iconic New York City backdrop -- a diverse character in its own right.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, that same Big Apple backdrop enhanced the film yet again with its kid-friendly red carpet and world premiere at Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Children danced to "Annie" numbers and beats spun by a young DJ as Santa's helpers handed out hot chocolate on a chilly day.
The cast, including Cameron Diaz ("Bad Teacher"), Jamie Foxx ("Horrible Bosses 2") Rose Byrne ("Bridesmaids") Bobby Cannavale ("Blue Jasmine") and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje ("Congo") also made their way through the crowd.
Director/Producer/Screenwriter Will Gluck -- who is most known for his film "Easy A," the winner of the 2010 Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy starring Emma Stone -- was thrilled to see his film come to fruition especially in his native New York.
"I am from New York and I love shooting in New York. I got to shoot a lot of the places that I grew up in. There is so much electricity in this city...that electricity is infectious with the cast, and you can't recreate that in Toronto," Gluck told Latin Post.
Filmmakers took advantage of the legendary New York backdrop. They shot scenes in Harlem, Washington Heights, the Upper West Side, the Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue, John Jay College of Criminal Justice on Tenth Avenue and 4 World Trade Center, where they captured spectacular views from the state-of-the-art skyscraper.
"We shot 'Tomorrow' on 116th and Lexington Avenue. 'Tomorrow' was really great. We were there for two full days shooting that. Basically, Quvenzhané had to walk down the street by herself, the cameras had to stay back," Gluck explained.
In addition to the all-star backing of the film, Gluck also teamed up with Executive Producers Celia Costas and Alicia Emmrich and producers James Lassiter, Caleeb Pinkett, Laurence "Jay" Brown, and Tyran "Ty Ty" Smith to come up with a modern twist on "Annie."
In line with diversity, the 2014 version of "Annie" also welcomes a Latina Miss Hannigan, Cameron Diaz (who is half-Cuban). In the 1982 film, Miss Hannigan was played by legendary actress/comedian Carol Burnett. Burnett portrayed a drunken, sinister orphanage matron who hates children, but loves her booze.
While Diaz had big shoes to fill, Gluck was delighted with her performance and contemporary spin on the character.
"We changed the character a bit and she has a real redemption in this film," Gluck explained. "We kind of explained Miss Hannigan more...I can think of no other actress, honestly than Cameron to do what she did. It's such a broad character, but then she has to get redeemed and feel emotional at the end. I am so proud, she killed it."
It was a rush for Diaz as well. "Miss Hannigan is a wonderful, delicious role to play. You get to be this over-the-top villain while also making kids laugh because you're more ridiculous than scary," she explained. "Miss Hannigan is like the Wicked Stepmother or Captain Hook - even tiny kids get it: you want to see the hero kid beat the bad guy grownup. So many great comediennes have played this part, and I am proud to be a part of Hannigan's lineage."
This time around Miss Hannigan has a unique history. She failed at being a pop star 20 years ago and never got over it. She thinks that fame leads to happiness when in actuality she just needs to learn to love herself.
How do other "Annie" cast members feel about the film?
"It was really incredible I am proud to be in this version of it," Emmy Award-winning "Boardwalk Empire" star Bobby Cannavale told Latin Post. "There are new songs; it's updated; we can finally see people of different cultures on film, which is really nice and it shows off New York, which I love because that's where I am from."
New York City has been an incredible backdrop for countless films, and it's bold and outgoing residents don't think twice about putting in their two cents.
"When you shoot in New York, the public is very much a part of the movie," actor Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje, who plays Nash in "Annie" told Latin Post. "People who were just walking by started breaking out singing and dancing. That's really what it's all about...It's very inspirational."
"I am a fan of 'Annie.' It's a classic. It's nice to see times changing. It's so diverse now," "Orange Is the New Black" Latina actress Dascha Polanco, who lent her support for the film, told Latin Post.
What can "Annie" fans expect from the 2014 version based on the seven-time, Tony Award-winning musical?
While there are many parallels to the 1982 film, the newest "Annie" has a hip and contemporary spin. Wallis proves that while she's a young, happy foster kid, she also has some street cred and is tough enough to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014.
"Originally left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they'd be back for her someday, it's been a hard knock life ever since with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan (Diaz). But everything's about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks (Foxx) - advised by his brilliant VP, Grace (Byrne) and his shrewd and scheming campaign advisor, Guy (Cannavale) - makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in. Stacks believes he's her guardian angel, but Annie's self-assured nature and bright, sun-will-come-out-tomorrow outlook on life just might mean it's the other way around."
Check out the official trailer for "Annie," which hits theaters on Friday, Dec. 19, 2014.