'Annie' star Wallis hopes to become a veterinarian.

AuthorRancilio, Alicia

Byline: Alicia Rancilio

NEW YORK -- Quvenzhane Wallis says she took singing lessons to prepare for the lead role in a new version of "Annie,'' opening in theaters in December.

Quvenzhane, who was nominated for a best-actress Oscar when she was 9 for her role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild,'' said she's always listened to music, especially while on her way to her brothers' basketball games.

"My vocal chords got better as I sang in the car, and when I (took) singing lessons, they got even better,'' the 11-year-old Quvenzhane said in a recent interview.

The movie also stars Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Byrne. Producers include Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Jay Z.

In this contemporized adaptation of the Broadway musical and the "Little Orphan Annie'' comic strip, Annie lives in a foster home instead of an orphanage, "and there are cellphones,'' Quvenzhane said.

One thing hasn't changed: the presence of Annie's loyal companion, a mutt named Sandy.

"Of course we have a Sandy. There's no 'Annie' without a Sandy. We have a little doggie named Marti who is a rescue dog. She's really cute,''...

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