Will Smith and Jay-Z's planned remake of the classic musical film Annie, about the hardscrabble life of a lovable orphan, has run into some hardships of its own: First choice director Ryan Murphy has reportedly removed himself from consideration for the project.
Annie is to star Smith's rising star of a daughter, Willow, and has been taken on by Sony Pictures and Smith's own Overbrook Entertainment in collaboration with Jay-Z. No official reasoning has been offered for why Murphy declined to take on the project, but Deadline.com reports that negotiations broke down.
The TV veteran and sometime filmmaker has been in high demand as a big-screen musical director since the runaway success of his television show, Glee. Other projects on the calendar for Murphy include an adaptation of the acclaimed 1980s gay-rights play The Normal Heart and a possible remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Annie's producers will no doubt find another music-friendly director to take on the buzzed-about project. The film, still in its earliest stages, is planned as the first in a multi-picture production deal between Jay-Z, Sony and Overbrook. Jay's 1998 Annie-sampling classic "Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)" has been cited as an inspiration for the project.
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