Jeremy Pope to star as Sammy Davis Jr. in Scandalous!, a drama about Davis and Kim Novak’s love affair. At the time it was a forbidden interracial relationship between the entertainer and actress Novak, who at the time was the top box office draw in Hollywood.
Janet Mock is on board to direct the drama. The role of Novak has yet to be announced.
Scandalous! is a Romeo and Juliet-esque set in the backdrop of old Hollywood. Sammy Davis Jr. was immensely popular, breaking the race barrier of a firmly segregated entertainment industry. He was making $25,000 a week at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas and became one of the first black stars to appear in a dramatic role on television on General Electric Theater.
Novak was discovered by the feared and hated head of Columbia Pictures, Harry Cohn. He created her to be his perfect blonde star and after starring in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, she was the next rising star. In which Cohn continued to exploit her through Hollywood.
But, in 1957, Tony Curtis matched the two of them up and she fell in love with Sammy Davis Jr., making their romance the new Hollywood gossip. And that where the trouble began. Davis Jr. who faced extreme racism later told a biographer he wanted to show them all [his worth] by dating the most desirable white woman. He received strife from civil rights leaders who thought it unwise for Davis Jr to date outside his race.
The last straw was when there was an alleged Mob hit, rumored to be by Cohn, on Davis.
This forced Davis into a bogus marriage to singer Loray White, which called off the hit. Sammy Davis Jr. and Kim Novak broke up not long after and didn’t see each other until 1979 at the Oscars. And again when she visited Davis on his death bed.
Jonathan Glickman and Jon will produce the picture. Glickman and Mock are shopping this picture around and plan to shoot this fall in Los Angeles. Mock, who is writer, director, and EP on both Hollywood and Pose, will polish the script by Matthew Fantaci.
You can currently see Jeremy Pope in Netflix’s Hollywood, a role which he earned an Emmy Nomination for. He was twice Tony-nominated in 2019, for his dramatic debut in Choir Boy, and then for his role as Eddie Kendricks in Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.