Who wants to be mean? Really mean. Like cruel to orphans mean. Well, it looks like Sandra Bullock is the one with the yen to be nasty a singing little girl named “Annie.” The Hollywood Reporter says that Bullock is in talks to play Miss Hannigan, the cruel head of the orphanage in “Annie,” the new movie reimagining of the popular stage musical. Jay-Z and Will Smith are producing. Will Gluck is directing. Quvenzhane Wallis plays the title role, with Jamie Foxx also starring as Benjamin Stacks, the new name for the Daddy Warbucks role, the rich man who rescues Annie.
Bullock had previously been up for the role in March, but never made a deal. Can she sing? Doesn’t matter. First off, “Annie” doesn’t have the most challenging score; you don’t need to be a great singer for most of the roles, and Miss Hannigan’s big number, “Little Girls,” can be practically talked through. And you know what? Bullock might surprise people with her singing chops. I remember reading long ago that her father was a voice teacher and her mother was an opera singer, and always wondered if she could sing or why she hadn’t ever seemed to pursue music.
Miss Hannigan is a great part for an actress who likes to have fun being mean and drunk. I expect that the rationale for casting Bullockwas her reputation as “America’s Sweetheart,” and the chance to turn that upside down with something hilariously un-sweet. However, since they’ve gone out of their way to say that this is an “urban” reimagining of the show, and cast African-Americans in the other major roles, I can’t help but wonder if there are a number of great comic black actresses reading about the Bullock casting and wondering, “Wait, what about me?’