Photo Credit: Randy Brooke/Getty Images
There's a lot to be excited about regarding the upcoming remake of Annie. First of all, we're eager to hear what producers Jay-Z and Will Smith do with classic showtunes like "Tomorrow." (We've already heard what Jay-Z can do with "Hard Knock Life.") Then there's the cast: adorable young Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis in the title role, and Jamie Foxx as a modernized Daddy Warbucks. However, we're scratching our heads over the just-announced casting of comic villain Miss Hannigan. Cameron Diaz is talented, okay -- but do we really want to see her in a musical?
Here's the thing about Cameron Diaz: she can't sing. Like, at all. She's such a bad singer that it's been a punchline in half a dozen of her films. Here she is singing badly in My Best Friend's Wedding. Here she is doing it in The Holiday. (What about The Mask, you ask? Good question. She was dubbed in The Mask.) With all the Grammy winners in the universe at their fingertips, shouldn't Jay-Z and Will have at least tried to get someone who can sing? Miss Hannigan, after all, has one of Annie's most show-stopping numbers, "Little Girls."
Guess they're prioritizing comedy over musical talent for this particular role. Their first choice was Sandra Bullock -- also not a singer, but next to Cameron Diaz, she looks like Nina Simone.
Then again, maybe we're being too hard on Diaz. She is, after all, funny, which is the role's main requirement -- and when she's required to disappear into a character (as in the film Being John Malkovich), she does a pretty good job.
And there's some precedent. In the 1982 film Annie, Miss Hannigan was played by comedienne Carol Burnett, who talked/sung her way through much of "Little Girls." It worked.
Kathy Bates also did an excellent job in the 1999 TV movie version of the musical -- though it turned out that she, in fact, could sing.
As long as Will and Jay-Z load up the rest of the cast with great singers, we'll still feel okay about buying the soundtrack. A few crucial roles have yet to be cast, including Grace, the secretary-slash-love-interest to Daddy Warbucks. We're all thinking Beyonce for that one, right?