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Murphy tells Deadline.com, "They are doing a movie version and I loved the idea that Jay-Z was going to do the music. I met with Jay and talked to him about it. I wanted to write the script and direct it. And then (Murphy's new TV project) American Horror got picked up and Willow is a certain age and you need a script by November. I didn't think I could do it.

"So now she's (Pinkett Smith) got Emma Thompson, who is 50 million times better than me. Love her. I wish I could have had the time to do it. The thing that was the biggest turn on for me was Jay. We talked about how we were going to set it (Annie) in Detroit."

Actress Thompson has frequently won acclaim for her scriptwriting skills, and she won a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Sense & Sensibility.