Ryan Murphy Not Directing Will Smith-Produced 'Annie' Remake

by Gabe Toro
March 28, 2011 12:54 PM
4 Comments
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Creative Differences Spawned From Not Having Any Hair To Whip Back And Forth



In Hollywood, the saying goes, you fail upwards. Enter Ryan Murphy, who received his big break in movies by helming the star-studded adaptation of "Running With Scissors." The fact that it was borderline-unwatchable dross didn't seem to affect his next job, the high-profile "Eat Pray Love," which somehow endeared itself to $200 million worth of undemanding Julia Roberts fans, despite being nearly as intolerable as its predecessor. So it goes for Murphy, a "mastermind" between two facile television entertainments ("Nip/Tuck," "Glee") that further remind us of a distinct chasm separating the big and small screens.

Murphy was in line for another cushy gig, the latest version of "Annie" being produced by Will Smith and starring his daughter Willow. Unfortunately for them, it appears the two sides couldn't agree on... something. The only explanation given for Murphy's departure was that "talks broke off" and it leaves the project without a guiding force. Not that this will stop Smith, who, if we're free to speculate (we are, thanks), probably has more than an iron grip on his producer's role, likely suggesting alterations to the script that Murphy didn't want to make. Or perhaps Murphy, who can now command a healthy paycheck, couldn't reach an agreement with Smith and co.

Anyway, Murphy walks away, but he is not without options, as he has a $5 million offer to reteam with Julia Roberts for an untitled film at Sony, while also running "Glee." "Annie," which will feature music by Jay-Z (really, Hova? We're friends, so we can call you that, right?), will likely motor along as Smith hires a corporate yes-man to do whatever he says for his children, because that's what the biggest movie star in the world does with his clout and integrity. Oh, and he also stars in "Men In Black 3."

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4 Comments

  • SydneyLevine | June 24, 2011 6:38 AMReply

    I'm all for changing the period, the color of the cast, even changing the story. Annie was the victim of capitalism after all...big daddy warbucks and that wierd relationship. I think Will et famille can do anything they want, and if they want to make their version of the movie, great. I'll go see it!

  • Steve | April 7, 2011 7:54 AMReply

    I think Willow has real talent, she's a good singer and I plan to buy her CD. I'm also a fan of Will and Jaden, but...

    I'd like to see this project come to a screeching halt, I don't want this "Annie" remake to happen because of all I've heard about it... all the changes they want to make.

    The changes: 1. Setting it in modern day instead of 1920's. 2. Jay-Z doing the music, changing or getting rid of the famous songs which have always been part of the stage production. 3. Willow as Annie. Annie is an iconic character written as a little white girl with red hair, she's been that way for like 70 years. Why not let Willow play July (one of the other orphans who is black)?

    And no, I'm not racist and I don't hate blacks. I would be just as against "The Jeffersons" being remade with an all white cast, "The Cosby Show" with a white cast or a remake of "Shaft" with a white actor. If a character was originally written to look and act a certain way then that's how they should always be in any future production of it.

    The majority of people I've seen responding to articles about this planned movie share the same opinion as me, they're against it for all the same reasons. Those who are black even have said Willow shouldn't be taking the part.

    My point is... with so many changes being planned, it just isn't the same story anymore. It isn't the "Annie" we all know and love. It seriously might as well be called something else... just as Jaden's "Karate Kid" should have been called "Kung Fu Kid" (there was no karate, it was all about kung fu), it was a whole new movie with all it's changes.

    Can't Will and Jada come up with an original script and movie for their kids? What's next, a remake of "Back To the Future" with Jaden as Marty McFly? Stop it Will... seriously. DO NOT make this movie please. Will should let his kids audition for roles like every other child actor... by creating parts for them he's doing more harm than good, makes it look like they can't get a part any other way.

  • Jello | April 1, 2011 6:36 AMReply

    Willow should be Annie PERIOD. She's an awful singer. Who would go pay 7$ or whatever the movie price is to see HER? Good for Ryan Murphy, that he quit.

  • Reyes | March 28, 2011 3:33 AMReply

    "Not that this will stop Smith, who, if we’re free to speculate (we are, thanks)"


    HAHAHAHA that's great.

    I'm sorry to say, but I can't help but the get the skeeves with the whole Willow phenomenon. She has presence like no other kid her age, but the stuff she sings and those angry-Ke$ha looks she has (plus the Ke$ha/Uffie vocals on her latest song) trigger the "something is wrong here" sensor in me. No shots at her - it's the force encouraging her.

    On top of that, we're gonna have to deal with the FACT that Jaden Smith is going to be a part of our lives as movie-followers for decades. The sooner we face this fact (let it sink in), the sooner we can learn to compartmentalize it and live an aneurysm-free life.

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