Will's daughter Willow Smith was originally set to be the movie's star role but left the project because she wanted to take some time off from show business.
"Willow was supposed to be doing Annie, we got Jay-Z to do the movie, got the studio to come in and Willow had such a difficult time on tour with Whip My Hair and she said, 'You know Daddy, I don't think so' and I said, 'Baby, hold up! I said no, no, no, listen, you'll be in New York with all of your friends and Beyoncé will be there. You will be singing and dancing,' and she looked at me and said, 'Daddy, I have a better idea, how about I just be 12," Will told Hiphopwired.com.
Filming for the Sony production is set to begin in late fall with an anticipated 2014 release date.