A biopic of the multi-talented Sammy Davis Jr. is in the works, scripted by Charles Murray (“Marvel’s Luke Cage”) and co-produced by singer Lionel Richie, who secured the rights from Sammy Davis Jr.’s estate, Deadline reported on February 25.
Distributed by Paramount Pictures, the film will pull from several sources, including Davis Jr.’s 1965 memoir “Yes I Can: The Story of Sammy Davis Jr.,” which addressed the actor’s desire to be the biggest star of his time while simultaneously struggling with virulent racism. According to Murray, his goal is for the world to see Davis as a whole man—one with talent and demons.
Murray also notes that being the only was a lonely place to be for Davis. “Sammy had to ask himself, ‘How do I become normal to the majority, and do I subjugate my ego and personality to do so, even when my talent is equal to or better than most everyone else?’ He was proving himself, every moment he was in the public eye,” Murray told Deadline.
“Imagine the toll that must take?” Murray continued. “His father and uncle would take him on walks through the city while touring, where no hotel would take them in, even ones they performed at. He understood what they [were] trying to avoid saying to him, as he saw the shame in the face of his father and uncles. He thought, eventually my talent will equalize the situation, but imagine being told you can be just as talented as the others, but you’ll never be equal.”