About The Production
Production designer Marcia Hinds worked closely with Will Gluck, a Manhattan
native, to find the film's locations. "Annie is an iconic story that's been told
before - our approach is a contemporary one, with New York as its backdrop. It
was important to Will and to all of us to give it a more realistic tone and
look," says Hinds, who also designed Gluck's previous films Easy A and Friends
From Harlem to Washington Heights to the Upper West Side, from the Guggenheim
Museum on 5th Avenue to the modernistic buildings of John Jay College of
Criminal Justice on Tenth Avenue, the filmmakers took advantage of everything
New York had to offer. Annie sings "Tomorrow" on a lively strip of Lexington
Avenue, between 115th and 117th Streets in East Harlem, while the East Side
Community School on East 12th Street downtown filled in for Annie's Harlem
school. Tribeca's Cortlandt Alley provided the location for Annie first meeting
her dog, Sandy, while the Wall Street heliport was the taking off point for
Stacks' helicopter, and Greenwich Village's Cafe Cluny on West 12th Street
filled in for Domani, an Italian restaurant where Annie hopes her parents will
However, perhaps the film's most spectacular location was 4 World Trade Center,
a state-of-the-art skyscraper where the production filmed the interiors of
Stacks' luxurious penthouse apartment. Hinds and her team had searched far and
wide for just the right home - open and modern, with spectacular views - that
would befit the billionaire cell phone mogul Will Stacks. "Will Stacks had to
live on the top of the world," Hinds explains.
It's hard enough to find such a place if you actually want to live there -
imagine trying to find one that can support a major motion picture. But then,
opportunity knocked. "Just on a fluke, somebody said, 'Well, 4 World Trade
Center's not open yet,' and we asked to see it," she remembers. "Then once we
saw it, we had to get in there. The Locations department worked and worked and
worked, and the building allowed us in. They had their grand opening two weeks
after we finished."
In Lower Manhattan, 4 World Trade Center was still under construction when Annie
filmed there; all equipment had to be loaded in with a construction hoist on the
exterior of the building. "We'd bring our hardhats with Annie across the top on
the elevator ride, and all the construction workers would break out into 'It's
the Hard-Knock Life,'" Hinds laughs.
The 72-story edifice, designed by architect Fumihiko Maki, offered
floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of One World Trade, the tallest
building in New York, and the rest of the Manhattan skyline visible in every
direction. Stacks' magnificent apartment was built from scratch in the
building's raw space, and Gluck, Hinds, and cinematographer Michael Grady also
made the most of 4 World Trade Center's distinctive terrace on the 57th floor,
which filled in for Stacks' personal outdoor terrace.
Right across the Hudson River from 4 World Trade Center, at Liberty State Park
in Jersey City, New Jersey, the filmmakers shot the film's climax, as Stacks, in
his helicopter, comes to Annie's rescue. A real helicopter was also used not
only for exterior shots, but for several scenes that take place inside the
Stacks corporate helicopter with Annie and Stacks. "It was Jamie Foxx,
Quvenzhane Wallis, me and the camera person up in the helicopter for four
hours," Will Gluck remembers. "It's all real, no green screen."
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