Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhane Wallis To Play Annie

It’s not a hard knock life for Quvenzhane Wallis!

The 9-year-old star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (who holds the distinction of being the youngest Lead Actress Oscar nominee ever) has been cast in the title role of “Annie.”

“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 Pictures’ Hannah Minghella said in a statement. “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.”

Quvenzhane is replacing Willow Smith, 12, who was originally slated to play the little orphan in the new big screen version of the film, but left the project after having outgrown the role. Willow’s parents, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, along with Jay-Z are among the producers of the movie.

“Annie” will hit the big screen during the holiday season in 2014.

-- Jesse Spero

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