When the remake of Annie was announced back in 2011, Will Smith -- one of the film's producers -- revealed that his daughter, Willow Smith, would be playing the titular role. However, news broke yesterday that Willow Smith, perhaps now seen as too old to play the young orphan, has been replaced. Now Quvenzhané Wallis, the Beasts of the Southern Wild star who walked down the Oscar red carpet yesterday as the youngest ever Best Actress nominee, will step in to play Annie in this modern adaptation of the Broadway musical based on the classic Little Orphan Annie comic strip.Little Orphan Annie was created by Harold Gray in 1924. Starring the adventures of Annie, her dog Sandy, and her benefactor Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks, it ranks among the most popular American comic strips of all time. Following Gray's passing in 1968, various cartoonists continued the strip until its cancellation in 2010. Attracting many adult readers with its commentary on themes like organized labor and communism, Little Orphan Annie is widely considered one of the greatest comic strips ever produced. Reprints are available from IDW Publishing.

The strip's popularity was such that it inspired a radio program and two films in the 1930s. Decades later, it would be the basis of the hit Broadway musical Annie in 1977, which produced such memorable songs as "Tomorrow" and "Maybe." The musical was itself released as a film in 1982.

Slated to arrive in theaters during the 2014 holiday season, the newest Annie film will be directed by Will Gluck, who previously directed Easy A. Producers on the film include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Jay-Z, who at least has a passing familiarity with the 1977 musical.

[Via CBS News]

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