There aren’t too many times in my life where I’m going to be able to say that I had a chance to have an interview with Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis & Will Gluck. It’s just not gonna happen, I know that, and I’m okay with that. But it did happen once and I have the picture to prove it!
I was in New York at the beginning of the month at the press junket for Annie. While I was there I had the opportunity to interview the cast and learn more about the movie. I was also able to see an early screening of the movie – which I loved – and I shared my Annie movie review earlier in the week, if you’re interested.
Interview with Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis & Will Gluck
When Jamie, Quvenzhane and Will walked into the interview room, the first thing I noticed was the camaraderie between the three. And it continued throughout the entire interview. Will would ask Quvenzhane “Who’s your favorite actor” or “Who’s your favorite (_______) fill in the blank” and Quvenzhane would just smile and give him the look. And what’s funny is, Jamie did the same thing. I thought it was great how these two seasoned professionals took her under their wings, helped her and tried to make her feel as comfortable as possible.
Obviously, the task of remaking a classic movie like Annie is a huge undertaking. With big names like Will Smith & Jay Z behind the film, it “opened up the doors to the music castle,” so to speak. Once they talked with the original writers, they got everyone excited about the movie and started bringing people on board.
I wanted to know how it felt to be charged with such a walloping opportunity and Will says, “When you make the movie, you don’t feel it at all. It’s always afterwards when people ask you that. But what we wanted to do was keep what connected with us in the original Annie – the story of optimism and hope, never giving up, finding your place in life and family – that’s the feeling we wanted to take and connect with the bones of the great music and make it our own.” There are adult issues in the movie, but Will was pretty adamant about not talking about these issues like adults. There are adult themes throughout, but because of the way they are shown in the film they go over kids heads and it’s still very much a kids movie.
Just a few minutes in to the interview, Jamie turned to Quvenzhane and simply asked her, “Are you ready?” She is about to embark on a journey as the new Annie – an Annie that is so 2014. Since my children didn’t grow up with the Annie that I know, Quvenzhane will be their Annie. She will be the Annie they remember – their original Annie. And as I’m sure you can imagine, she thinks “it’s very exciting.” She continued by saying, “It makes me feel very happy to know that I am the newest version.” Coming from Louisiana as an AB Honor Roll student where everything was going well, one audition changed her world.
Since there is a huge musical component to the movie, with lots of singing and dancing, another blogger asked which one was her favorite and without hesitation she said, “I Think I’m Going to Like it Here.” The reason that one is her favorite is because “it’s something she wouldn’t be able to do at home (you’ll understand after you watch the movie) because if she did she would be in major trouble…it was just something that was really fun – working with Rose and doing the dance routine.” To prepare for the role of Annie, Quvenzhane “took acting classes, dancing classes, and singing lessons.” She says, “It was just all really fun because I like singing and dancing.” Is there singing in her future? We will just have to see because “she would love to!”
In the movie you see the transition where Mr. Stacks (Jamie Foxx) goes from being the disconnected father figure to the compassionate, caring father who truly cares for Annie. Because he is a father, he says it was an “easy emotion to get to.”
In the original Annie, Annie she was an orphan. In this Annie, she is a foster child, which she makes known several times throughout the movie. When I asked Will why, he said that “by admitting you are an orphan, you are admitting you have no parents.” By Annie saying that she is a foster kid, instead of an orphan, she is making it clear that she does have parents out there and she will find them.
Having the opportunity to sit down with these three talented people in such a small, intimate setting was such a delight. It’s always so exciting getting to know more about the movie from the actors and the director.
Hop on over to my interview with Cameron Diaz & Bobby Cannavale to learn about their roles, life lessons from the movie and more!
Annie hits theaters December 19, 2014!