Rap mogul Jay-Z's forthcoming film remake of the orphan tale Annie is moving along nicely according to actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson.

The British performer — an Oscar-winner for her performance in Howard's End as well as for her adapted screenplay of Sense and Sensibility — said the modernized retelling is slated to start filming in spring 2013.


Young actress Willow Smith, seen in Los Angeles in July, will star in the modernized remake of Annie. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

"I have been writing the script for nearly three years, it's exciting," Thompson said, according to the BBC.

Though inspired by the Little Orphan Annie comic and based on the Broadway musical and 1982 film, Jay-Z's version will be updated to modern-day New York.

Willow Smith, daughter of performers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, will star as the titular singing orphan.

"In the autumn, we get to go to L.A. to work with Willow and work on more of the script," Thompson said. "Jay-Z has already started working on the music."

The hip hop mogul, whose real name is Shawn Carter, previously sampled the tune It's the Hard Knock Life from Broadway's Annie musical for the title track of his Grammy-winning 1998 album, Hard Knock Life. He is reportedly creating a soundtrack that will incorporate songs from the musical as well as original music.

Jay-Z previously teamed up with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and others to co-produce Broadway's Felathe Tony-winning musical celebration of late Nigerian activist and Afrobeat superstar Fela Kuti.