Remember the dueling Truman Capote biopics, Capote and Infamous? That's nothing compared to the possibilities for movies focusing on Sammy Davis Jr. and his memorable career. According to the New York Times, the potential movie projects currently number four -- three features and a documentary, focusing on different aspects of the singer/actor's life from various biographical sources. If the Capote films are any kind of benchmark, it seems that the first movie to reach theaters will likely be the one with the biggest box-office success. This means that when one of these films actually goes into production, the other projects may crumble. Here are the contenders for the big race:
- Denzel Washington starring in and possibly directing a Brian Grazer-produced adaptation of 2003 biography In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr., written by Wil Haywood. Imagine Entertainment and Universal Pictures have teamed up for this movie. This is the one I'm betting will prevail, simply because of the big-name talent behind it.
- Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) starring in Sammy and Kim, about Davis's affair with actress Kim Novak in the 1950s, which drew a lot of controversy at the time. The sensationalist aspect of this story could potentially draw a lot of crowds.
- New Line is finalizing a deal to adapt Davis's best-selling autobiography from 1965, Yes, I Can, which was actually written by Jane and Burt Boyar. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have produced Chicago and Hairspray, are attached as producers. This biopic is endorsed by Davis's widow, but no lead actor has yet been named.
- A documentary is also in the running, also based on Yes, I Can, and using Burt Boyar's filmed interviews with Davis. This sounds like it might be a good alternate, smaller film that would clarify facts that might balance out a more sensational, fictionalized biopic.