Hulu has ordered an eight-episode limited series about Sammy Davis, Jr. that will see Elijah Kelley cast in the title role which is based on the Wil Haygood book, “In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr.”
The project comes from Lee Daniels and reunites Kelley with Daniels years after working on Daniels’ The Butler and Fox’s Star.
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The untitled series will chart his rise from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage where he became one of the most famous Black entertainers of the 1950s and ’60s (and the only Black member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack). At the same time, he spent most of his career surrounded by controversy and ridicule — over his affairs with white film stars, his 1960 marriage to Swedish actress May Britt, his conversion to Judaism, his closeness to the Kennedys (and later Richard Nixon) and his problems with alcohol and drugs.
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Daniels and frequent collaborator Thomas Westfall will write the series with Daniels directing the first two episodes. Westfall, who served as an associate producer on The United States vs. Billie Holiday and was a writer on Empire and Star, will be credited as a co-EP. Kelley will produce alongside the author, Haygood. Marc Toberoff is also going to exec produce.
Kelley is collaborating on some of the show’s original music. A production location or start date has not been set.