Annie brings its Depression era characters into the 21st century

December 16, 2014 2:53 AM

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Like Shirley Temple on film, the comic-strip heroine Little Orphan Annie lifted America's spirits during the Depression – but, politically speaking, she was never as innocent as all that. Originally, the strip was a vehicle for its Republican creator Harold Gray's support of the free market; the Broadway musical Annie and its 1982 movie adaptation turned this on its head, having Annie and her billionaire guardian Daddy Warbucks pal around with Democratic hero Franklin Roosevelt.

This update offers yet another spin. Annie, traditionally a redhead with freckles, is portrayed as African-American; Will Smith, one of the producers, planned that his daughter Willow would star, much as his son Jaden became the new Karate Kid. That didn't work out, but the film still feels like a p...

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