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New York Daily News Interview


Jamie Foxx plays an updated Daddy Warbucks in the new “Annie” — but admits he didn’t have to act very paternal on set with young co-star Quvenzhané Wallis.

“I don’t see you as 10 or 11,” he tells Wallis, who stars as orphan Annie in the film out Friday. “When she’s on set, people are throwing lines at her, ‘Do this,’ ‘Do that,’ and she’s regurgitating it back like a grownup… I wouldn’t know how to be 10, 11 sitting here.”

Wallis, 11, clearly knows what she’s doing. On Thursday, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for “Annie,” against seasoned stars like Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Julianne Moore and Helen Mirren.

No big deal — her debut film role in “Beasts of the Southern Wild” back in 2012 already earned her bragging rights as the youngest actress ever to score a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

“She speaks so eloquently, you’d think she’s 25 or 30 years old but she’s still a kid,” Foxx says. “I didn’t have to be Daddy that much. I’m learning stuff from her because she was really good at this stuff.”

With the bravado of a kid, Wallis agrees: “I know, it’s true because when you would give me lines I would just say them.”

The pair share an easy rapport.

Foxx is lying on a bed at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo cuddling two women when a Daily News reporter enters the room. Don’t worry — the two gals in question work with Wallis and the pint-sized star is snapping pics of them on her cell phone.

Foxx, 47, is thrilled when told his day of answering reporters’ questions about “Annie” is coming to a close.

“I’m going to go to the gym,” he says gleefully, before demonstrating his workout routine which includes a lot of lunges and turns. Wallis comes over to join in on the moves.

Neither of the stars were huge “Annie” fans growing up.

“We didn’t get a chance to watch a lot of musicals growing up where I was,” Foxx admits. But he loved Jay Z’s take on the song “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” and Wallis says she watched the original musical “a million times” when she heard about the audition.

Both Foxx and Wallis say they’d be up for another musical if it came along, and Foxx adds that he’d like to tackle the story of Bobby Shmurda. (Shmurda is a rapper who grew up in Brooklyn and just celebrated his single “Hot Ni–a” going platinum.)

Foxx has a smooth charm about him which he attributes to his Southern roots. (He was born in Terrell, Texas).

“We’re Southern folks,” he explains, gesturing towards Wallis, who’s from Houma, La. “It’s like you got to live life and enjoy it and if it’s part of your DNA to be nice and happy then that’s what you’ll be.”

“Annie” director Will Gluck says that Foxx deserves “to be a rock star. He’s so funny, he’s so engaging. He stops and talks to everyone.” That apparently included lots of New Yorkers who stopped the actor in the street during filming. Gluck admits it made shooting scenes a little more difficult but the energy oozes out onto the screen.

The “Django Unchained” actor says he’s offered advice to Wallis’ mother who was on set every day.

“‘It’s a whirlwind. You’re gonna need allies,’” he counseled. “You’re going to need people that you can call to say, ‘What do I do about this?’ But they handle it. I told Quvenzhané, ‘Be yourself, have a good time.’”

Wallis, 11, has aspirations beyond acting. She says she’d like to continue making films, but also wants to be a veterinarian “while I’m acting because that will be fun.”

And even though Foxx has a Best Actor Oscar for “Ray” (2004) and has appeared in movies like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and the “Horrible Bosses” films — he doesn’t sound so sure about this whole acting business.

“I still scratch Lotto tickets,” he jokes. “If I win I’m going to be out.”

But doesn’t Foxx already have enough money to retire?

“I wish I had the money,” he says. “It’s different when you’ve got two kids and you’re talking about what to leave for them. You need to really secure things. What I’ve noticed is it’s getting tougher to be a celebrity with social media and all that stuff.”

“It sucks, it’s terrible,” he continues. “It’s the worst thing to ever happen. To have people follow you and film you and create their own narrative and make you look goofy and stupid…You can’t tell a joke anymore. It’s scrutinized. They’re just killing art.”

Foxx does have a Twitter account though — where he shares plenty of pics of he and pal Wallis promoting “Annie.”

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