Miss Hannigan is not a sacred role.
Hundreds have played the negligent, booze-soaked ward of that Depression-era orphanage. That’s one of the great things about musicals. The parts are interchangeable by design. We may have our favorites, but on a certain level, we accept that the part is expected to live on separately from any individual performance, transcending generations and even the beloved soundtrack. Committing that performance to film, however, does tend to get people riled up in a way that, say, Nick Jonas playing Marius in Les Misérables on stage does not.
After months of wondering whether Sandra Bullock would take on the part in Will Gluck’s adaptation of Annie, news broke Wednesday that the coveted part would in fact go to Cameron Diaz. Unless they’d announced that some Broadway crossover (à la Sutton Foster) had snatched up the role, the knee-jerk reaction was never going to be great. Diaz is pure Hollywood. Is she too beautiful? Too young? Too old? Can she sing? Is this a case of disaster stunt casting that is just indicative of our worst fears that Jay-Z, Will Smith, and Gluck aren’t interested in making a good film?
But let’s step back for a moment. Diaz’s casting is not only not a bad thing, she may actually make the movie. Bear with us.
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