Hollywood is already on a new track in reinventing iconic comic book and movie characters for the sake of complexity and fitting the times. By 2014, we'll have seen a whole new Superman, plus a reformation of that little red-haired girl, otherwise known as Little Orphan Annie. Even if we've long locked an image of what Annie is supposed to look like, let's all admit that the live-action version of Annie has always been a bit odd.
And let's call a red wig a red wig: The red Annie wig has never looked natural. It may have worked appropriately for the stage when "Annie: The Musical" debuted in 1977. But when the 1982 film adaptation was done (and the TV remake), the red curly locks didn't look as fitting as it did in ink when seen in the legendary comic strip. It's why casting Quvenzhane Wallis as Annie in the planned 2014 remake of the musical might have been a brilliant move.
For some, it might look too politically correct to cast an African-American girl as Annie. What those people lack to see is the spirit of the Annie character and how it seems to live and breathe in the mind of above-mentioned Wallis. In fact, you could say her role of Hushpuppy in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" was basically Annie in a very different place and time.
It's no secret the above film is what landed Wallis the role. In fact, her role might seem a little too similar to Annie, which could pose a problem of typecasting for Wallis if she continues acting on similar ground. The original success behind the Annie character, though, was in her resourcefulness and steadfastness to overcome the odds. No doubt the original intention of Little Orphan Annie creator, Harold Gray, was to make Annie stand out from the crowd, considering red-haired people were considered unusual in the 1930s.
In that regard, the look of Annie could easily be reinvented if the same spirit is there. Whether audiences want to see the exuberantly optimistic Annie this time around is a matter of personal taste. One gets the feeling this Annie will be slightly different, if even with a harsher edge that most people forget the original comic strip character had.
There's also the question of whether this Annie should be based on the stage musical or create a new comedy-drama without music. The latter may be the better route considering Quvenzhane Wallis is untested on being able to sing, let alone hitting the famous high note of "Tomorrow." Something more faithful to the comic strip would give new generations a better feel for how the original comic strip captured so many fans.
And if they keep it urban with an African-American cast, audiences can see the street tough side of Annie that the comic strip showed often. Even if they go with the musical side of things, a now more accepted wave of natural singing could give it a refreshing angle. Yes, imagine a "Tomorrow" rendition without big, brassy singing.
For those who absolutely need to see a similar Annie haircut, we may have already seen it in Wallis's performance of Hushpuppy. While others might think her hair looked more like a Shirley Temple frizz job, Wallis's hair can go from looking like the southern wild to demure shapes as we've seen on the award circuit.
Any irony would be in seeing this Annie warm to the Warbucks world, which is a world away from the Hushpuppy sensibility.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Little Orphan Annie