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The Internship notwithstanding, Rose Byrne is currently in the best streak of her career, with an impressive post-Damages film line-up, beginning with The Place Beyond the Pines earlier this year. (Or maybe Bridesmaids.) Now she might take things to a different level completely, according to The Hollywood Reporter, as she’s currently in talks to star in the upcoming cinematic revision of the musical Annie, to be produced by Will Smith and Jay Z.
Should she take the part, she’ll be the fourth big name involved with the project, and would take on the role of Grace, assistant to “Daddy” Warbucks, renamed Benjamin Stacks for the film and played by Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx. Any way you look at it, this is going to be a big movie for Sony, and I’m just hoping that director Will Gluck (Friends With Benefits and screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna (We Bought a Zoo) keep the film light and fun. Modernizations of classic works often get reworked lensed through cynicism, sometimes muting the enjoyment the originals inspired. And Byrne is an actress who goes into dramatic and comedic roles alternately, so she reveals no tonal benchmarks.
The film will also star Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis as the little orphan Annie herself. And though it isn’t really an elephant in the room, I might as well admit my previous curiosity over what race Grace would end up being, given the Internet chatter after Wallis and Foxx got cast. “Australian” wasn’t atop my list of guesses. Not that it really matters one way or the other. Just as long as they didn’t turn the character into a man. (leopard growl) I think Byrne and Wallis would look lovely together as generation-gapped friends.
Based both on the original Harold Gray comic strip as well as Thomas Meehan’s novelization of the stage play, Annie will again tell the story of a young orphan taken to spend the Christmas holidays with the extravagantly wealthy Stacks, where she tries to find her parents and almost gets duped in the process. I’m sure the plot will see a change up or two before it goes to screen.
Byrne’s busy year includes James Wan’s horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2, Dan Mazer’s I Give it a Year, the short film collection The Turning, Shawn Levy’s novel adaptation This is Where I Leave You and Nicholas Stoller’s frat boy comedy Townies. More comedies than not, so that probably means Annie will heap on the drama, to get Byrne’s average straight.
Annie will hopefully brighten up our holidays next year when it hits theaters on Christmas Day, 2014. Need an earworm for the rest of your day? Here's the big number from John Huston's 1982 Annie, which features Grace introducing Annie to the wonders of Daddy Warbucks' house.