Elijah Kelly is set to star as Sammy Davis Jr. in a limited series from Lee Daniels at Hulu.
The series, which is untitled right now, has an eight-episode order at the streamer. It is adapted from the book, In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr.
Here’s the logline: Sammy Davis, Jr. rose from childhood stardom on the vaudeville stage to become one of the most famous African American 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.
There is no start date for production as of yet.
20th Television is the studio. Daniels is writing and executive producing. He also directs the first two episodes. Thomas Westfall is also writing and is co-executive producer. Kelly is producing as is Wil Haygood, and Marc Toberoff is also executive producing.
Tackling the life of Davis has been a long-term project for Lee.
He wanted to bring his life to the small screen at HBO in 2013, but nothing ever materialized. A film project on Davis was also set up at Paramount Players 2018, but nothing materialized from that either. The most recent news was in 2019 when Tom Hanks boarded a miniseries project as a producer with Daniels. Hanks is not attached to this Hulu project. Also, in December 2011, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquired the rights to Davis’ life story from his daughter Tracey Davis, with plans to develop both a feature film and a stage production.