- Associated Press - Sunday, February 24, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - The young Oscar-nominated star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” has been cast in the lead role of a new version of “Annie.”

Sony Pictures announced Sunday that Quvenzhane (kwuh-VEHN’-juh-nay) Wallis will play Annie in a contemporized adaptation of the Broadway musical and the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip. It’s to be directed by Will Gluck, who loosely based his 2010 film “Easy A” on “The Scarlet Letter.”

The 9-year-old Quvenzhane is one of the youngest Oscar-nominated actors ever. She’s also shot a small role in Steve McQueen’s upcoming film, “Twelve Years a Slave.”

“Annie” is planned for release during the 2014 holiday season. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z are among the producers. The Smiths’ daughter, Willow, had originally been slated to play Annie.