Wallis a lock to play Annie

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“Beasts of the Southern Wild” star Quvenzhane Wallis will play ‘Annie’ in the long-gestating remake of the musical hit.

Will Smith, whose daughter Willow was originally set to play the lead, stays on as a producer on the film, along with James Lassiter and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Jay Brown and Tyran “Ty Ty” Smith through Marcy Media.

“Easy A” director Will Gluck helms. Emma Thompson (yes, that Emma Thompson) wrote the script, which was rewritten by Aline Brosh McKenna.

“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,” Columbia’s Hannah Minghella said. “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.”

“Annie” is due in theaters 2014.