Tag Archives: Musical

Annie: Interview With Quvenzhane Wallis, Jamie Foxx, and Will Gluck!

interview-with-jamie-foxx-quvenzhane-wallis-will-gluck-1024x660Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with the cast of Annie to talk about the process of making the movie, and it was a blast! After our interview with Cameron Diaz and Bobby Cannavale, who play Miss Hannigan and Guy in Annie, respectively, we got to speak with Quvenzhane Wallis (Annie herself), Jamie Foxx (Will Stacks), and the film’s director Will Gluck!

The interview started off with a discussion of Will’s feelings on re-making a “classic.” He explained that “we wanted to keep what connected with us in the original Annie— the musical and the movie– the story of optimism, 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 we wanted to make it our own. So as long as we kept those touchstones, we felt that we could go off a little bit and make it what we wanted to do. We felt we did that. We felt that the spirit of Annie comes out.”

Jamie added that “If you look at re-makes today, everybody’s doing it… It’s great to grab a wonderful brand like this and then have a wonderful actress– Quvenzhane is nominated at such an early age, and now she steps into this iconic role– I just thought it was the right time… it seemed really fresh. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Continuing with Foxx, who is an incredible singer outside of Annie with a great album of his own, we discussed how he brought his previous experience to the role. He mentioned that “the songs are so great… anytime there’s music and you have a person [like Quvenzhane] who can bring the emotional energy and then here comes this iconic music we’ve listened to for years, it was a fun time.” Will Gluck added that “it was a really fun set– there’s nothing negative because this message is so positive.”

While the set may have been lots of fun, there is also a tremendous emotional impact to taking on an iconic story like Annie, and particularly a role like Annie herself. Noting this, Foxx turned to Quvenzhane Wallis and asked her “Are you ready for this big ride? For the rest of your life, people are going to [say] ‘That shaped my childhood’ or even grown people: ‘I took my child to see the new Annie.‘ How does that make you feel?” Wallis was all smiles. “It’s really exciting. It makes me feel very happy to know that I’m in the newest version that maybe even, like, three-year-olds will know and then when they get older… this is your original Annie.”

Whether this is your original Annie or you’ve been following the story through its various iterations since 1977, you’ll love the new take on the classic musical. Read our review, check out our interview with Cameron Diaz and Bobby Cannavale, and be sure to go see Annie the next time you head out to the movies!

Annie: Interview With Bobby Cannavale and Cameron Diaz!

interview-with-cameron-diaz-bobby-cannavale-1024x682Recently I had the privilege of sitting down with the cast of Annie to talk about the process of making the movie, and it was a blast! First off, we got to speak with Cameron Diaz and Bobby Cannavale, who play Miss Hannigan and Guy in Annie, respectively.

We kicked the interview off with a pretty simple question: what was Cameron and Bobby’s favorite part of filming? Without a moment’s hesitation, they both answered “Easy Street!” The number, of course, is a classic part of Annie that lays out their characters’ scheme to exploit the reward for finding Annie’s birth parents by setting up a pair of actors to pose as her mom and dad and collect the money offered by Will Stacks. Bobby in particular seemed to have a lot of fun with the scene, revealing that though dancing “doesn’t come naturally” to him, he “did the part to do that number.”

If Bobby’s hangup was dancing, Cameron’s was her fear of singing in front of people. However, just as she conquered her fear of heights by jumping out of an airplane and scaling the face of a thousand-foot tall mountain (“not at the same time,” the actress added, chuckling), she similarly faced her vocal worries by “just charging toward it” and having confidence in the professionals handling her. Ultimately, Cameron had a great attitude about her anxieties in the role, sharing her idea that “if you run from fear, it jumps on your back and takes you down. If you run towards it and you jump on it, then you can take it down.”

Bobby and Cameron had quite a bit of advice to offer in regard to what Annie taught them about life. Cannavale mentioned confidence as a major trait that the film’s rehearsals instilled in him. He explained that the months of training for “Easy Street” in particular prepared him to walk confidently onto the set on the day of the shoot and charge head-on into the number that otherwise would’ve been difficult for him– and he was even comfortable and prepared to add in extra moves that day, like a dip at the end of the piece, that hadn’t been taught to him before!

Diaz also added that her character Miss Hannigan, contrary to the invalidated spinster that the character is typically portrayed as, is more a comment on modern society’s obsession with fame, social media and the like. “She never felt that so she doesn’t feel validated and loved,” and she takes this lack of self-love out on the girls. Cameron spins this into a great lesson for all of us:  “I hope that people realize that they don’t need fame, they don’t need to be seen by others; they just need to love themselves for who they are, not what they aren’t.”

As far as lessons from Annie go, Bobby also imparted some wisdom about the character of Annie herself: “I always liked the idea, just as a general theme of the story, that anything is possible as long as you’re in the moment– and this little girl is so present and in the moment. She teaches other people who come into her life how to do that, and how we can really take advantage of the opportunities that are in front of us as long as we’re in the moment– that’s the only way we can see them.”

There’s plenty to learn from Annie, and lots of fun in the movie to share with your family– it’s a perfect choice for this holiday season. Read our review, stay tuned for our interview with Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhane Wallis, and Will Gluck, and be sure to go see Annie the next time you head out to the movies!

Disney’s Into the Woods is a dark adventure that you’ll be singing along too!

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If you didnt know Disney’s Into The Woods is a musical… something that the first few trailers didnt really show you that clearly.  I was a little surprised when I saw the first few scenes… but once you get over that (or better yet go into the movie knowing that) then you’re in for a real treat.  I think this movie will become this generations Rocky Horror Picture Show.  The singing some of the best you’ve seen in musicals.  The writing is witty and really gets you into the 4 main storylines.  I would highly recommend this for children 10 and up do to the dark subject matter.

Once upon a time in a far off Kingdom when the Baker (Tony Award® winner James Corden) was just a child, his Father (BAFTA Award winner Simon Russell Beale) was caught stealing magic beans from the vegetable garden of the Witch (three time Oscar® winner Meryl Streep) next door. As punishment for losing the precious beans, the Witch was placed under a curse which made her hideous in appearance. The Witch, in turn, cast an evil spell on the Baker’s household, cruelly insuring that the Baker and his Wife would forever be incapable of having a child.

Years later, when the Baker and his Wife (Golden Globe® winner Emily Blunt) learn of the curse, they venture into the Woods to seek out the ingredients which will both reverse the spell and restore the Witch’s beauty. By the time the blue moon rises in three days’ time, something which only occurs once every 100 years, they must return with four items: a cow as white as milk, hair as yellow as corn, a cape as red as blood and a slipper as pure as gold.

On their journey into the Woods, they encounter: Cinderella (Oscar® and Tony® nominee Anna Kendrick) fleeing the Palace in a pair of gold slippers; Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) on her way to Granny’s house while being pursued by the Wolf (three time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp); the fair maiden Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), held captive by the Witch in a tower with no doors; and young Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) 3 en route to the market to sell his cherished cow, Milky-White, to appease his exasperated Mother (seven time Emmy® winner Tracey Ullman). Each one on their own quest to fulfill a wish.

The third midnight approaches, and the Baker and his Wife, having produced the required ingredients through a combination of theft , bribery and deceit, deliver them to the Witch. Soon the Witch’s curse is lifted, rendering her beautiful once more. The Baker and his Wife magically give birth to the child they so longed for. Cinderella breaks free from her evil Stepmother (Emmy® and two-time Tony Award® winner Christine Baranski) and stepsisters Florinda and Lucinda (Emmy winner Tammy Blanchard and Lucy Punch) and marries her Prince (Critics’ Choice Award nominee Chris Pine). Rapunzel is freed from exile by her Prince (Tony nominee Billy Magnussen), and the giant beanstalk which sprouted from the magic beans Jack received in exchanged for his cow, has led to riches beyond his Mother’s wildest dreams.

However, just at the moment of happily ever after, a terrifying, vengeful Lady Giant (Tony® and Olivier Award winner Frances De La Tour) climbs down from the beanstalk, wreaking destruction on the Kingdom, the village and the enchanting forest. Forced to face the consequences of their desires, the group of characters who have befriended one another in the Woods, must come together and take responsibility for their actions before they can defeat the Giant. Only then, will they discover the signifi cance of each of their individual
journeys.

Directed by Oscar® nominee and DGA Award winner Rob Marshall and produced by Emmy® winner and Golden Globe® nominee John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a., Marc Platt , p.g.a. and Callum McDougall, “Into the Woods” brings the Tony Award®-winning musical classic and such memorable songs as “Children Will Listen,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One is Alone” and “Agony,” to life on the big screen. The fi lm is based on the musical stage production by eight-time Tony, GRAMMY® and Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Tony winner James Lapine, who also wrote the screenplay.

The film’s outstanding team of creative talents includes: Academy Award® winner Dion Beebe, ACS, ASC as director of photography; Oscar® winner Dennis Gassner as production designer; three-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood as costume designer; Emmy® nominee Wyatt Smith as editor; Oscar winner Peter Swords King as makeup and hair designer; Emmy winner Mike Higham as music producer; Tony® and Emmy winner Paul Gemignani and Mike Higham as music supervisors; and Emmy winner Matt Johnson as visual effects supervisor.

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INTO THE WOODS is rated PG and opens in theaters everywhere on December 25th!

Annie: The Classic Comes to Life in A Whole New Way!

annie-2014The holiday hit of 2014 is here! Annie has been an American cultural icon since the musical’s first production in 1977 (and even longer before that, with the comic strip that serves as its inspiration beginning its run in 1924!) With classic songs like “Tomorrow,” “Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” and “NYC,” Annie has undoubtedly left its mark on the Broadway scene, and it’s no stranger to the silver screen either– the musical has been adapted to film several times before, but never like this!

Annie, which hit theaters on December 19, takes the classic musical and brings it up to date with new songs, new characters, and a completely modern setting. Starring Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) as Annie, Jamie Foxx (Dreamgirls, Ray) as William “Will” Stacks, Rose Byrne (BridesmaidsNeighbors) as his assistant Grace Farrell, Bobby Cannavale (Romance & CigarettesPaul Blart: Mall Cop) as Guy, his political advisor, and Cameron Diaz (ShrekThere’s Something About Mary) as the wicked Miss Hannigan, this movie’s got a star-studded cast that’s simply packed with talent!

If you and your family are heading to the movies anytime soon, Annie is definitely a great choice to see together. It’s got toe-tapping tunes, a great message, and most of all, heart. You can really tell that this movie was made with love by all involved– the cast’s fantastic chemistry is incredibly apparent, and helps Annie to go the extra mile and become a truly special moviegoing experience. You won’t want to miss this heartwarming tale of love, hope, and musical joy.

Check out Annie with your family this holiday season, in theaters now!

And be sure to stay tuned to see our exclusive interviews with the director and cast of Annie!