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Thompson teams up with Smith, Jay-Z for 'Annie' update

May 17, 2012 at 8:36 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, May 17 (UPI) -- British actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson says she is penning a contemporary screen version of the musical "Annie."

The BBC said Will Smith is producing the film, which will star his 11-year-old daughter, Willow.

Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, the father of an infant daughter with singer Beyonce, is writing new tracks for the New York-set musical, which will begin shooting next year.

Jay-Z had a hit several years ago with "Hard Knock Life," an R-rated rap song that riffs on a tune from "Annie."

Some other songs from the original stage musical, such as "Tomorrow," will also be included on the new movie's soundtrack, Thompson said.

"I think it's a very good combination," the BBC quoted Thompson as saying. "We're looking for directors so the management will come up with a director in the next week or two weeks."

Thompson, who has acted with Will Smith in "Men in Black 3" and "I Am Legend," won an Oscar for her screenplay for "Sense & Sensibility." She also wrote and starred in the Nanny McPhee movies.

Based on the long-running comic-strip, "Annie" follows the adventures of a young orphan trying to find her biological parents just as a kind-hearted millionaire offers to adopt her. The original version was set during the 1930s, but the new edition will take place now.

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