June 29, 2022

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Columbus native Wil Haygood’s biography of Sammy Davis Jr. to be eight-part Hulu series

Author Wil Haygood's book "In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr." will become an eight-part series on Hulu.

Writer Wil Haygood’s book “In Black and White: The Lifetime of Sammy Davis Jr.” will develop into an 8-element sequence on Hulu.

The everyday living of Sammy Davis Jr. is quickly headed to a Tv display, laptop watch or tablet near you — and Columbus native Wil Haygood is aiding tell the tale.

Final week, the streaming assistance Hulu declared that it ideas to make an 8-aspect confined sequence dependent on Haygood’s acclaimed 2003 biography “In Black and White: The Lifestyle of Sammy Davis Jr.”

Actor Elijah Kelley, identified for the motion picture musical remake of “Hairspray” and NBC’s “The Wiz Reside!,” will star as the legendary singer, dancer, actor and Rat Pack member. Davis was born in 1925 and died in 1990.

In an interview with The Dispatch, Haygood — who graduated from Miami College in Oxford in 1976 and was, for lots of a long time, a author with The Washington Post — expressed gratitude that Davis’ exclusive story will be advised more than the study course of numerous episodes somewhat than in a characteristic-length film.

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“I am so delighted that it did not close up as a singular movement picture for the reason that you have to truncate so a great deal if it’s a two-hour movement photograph, of a daily life this epic, of a existence this wide,” mentioned Haygood, 67, who lives in Washington, D.C. His most the latest ebook, “Colorization: 1 Hundred A long time of Black Films in a White World,” arrived out final drop.

How the Sammy Davis Jr. collection will unfold

“In an eight-portion sequence, 1 can discuss about vaudeville, just one can talk about Sammy’s genius, how he propelled his father (dancer Sammy Davis Sr.) and honorary uncle, Will Mastin, to retain going as a result of the challenging a long time of the Melancholy,” Haygood claimed. “One can write about Sammy’s challenging marriage with white women of all ages, with race. He was engaged in his life to two white ladies, just one in Canada, and, of study course, Might Britt right here in the U.S., and he ended up marrying May perhaps Britt.”

A biography of Sammy Davis Jr.'s life, written by Columbus native Wil Haygood, will become a new series on Hulu.

A biography of Sammy Davis Jr.’s lifestyle, published by Columbus native Wil Haygood, will develop into a new sequence on Hulu.

The sequence will be established and co-composed by filmmaker Lee Daniels, who beforehand turned Haygood’s 2008 Washington Article article about longtime White Home butler Eugene Allen into “The Butler,” a 2013 movie starring Forest Whitaker. (Kelley also had a supporting job in that film.)

“Lee has a authentic reward for really challenging tales,” Haygood mentioned. “He is familiar with how to intertwine tunes and drama, and he’s pretty passionate about this tale. I feel he sees that if you explain to the story of Sammy Davis Jr., the unsung tale of Sammy Davis Jr., that you notify the story of America.”

A series about Davis several years in the making

Davis’ life may possibly seem to be to be a normal healthy for a film or limited collection, but Haygood’s book took practically two decades to last but not least be tailored for the display screen.

In 2004, the biography was optioned by Denzel Washington, who meant to direct a element-film adaptation.

“He held the option for about a few several years,” Haygood reported. “I went and satisfied him, talked to him at size, and for regardless of what cause — who understands why these factors occur — it just didn’t take place.”

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Then, when filming wrapped on “The Butler,” Daniels asked Haygood’s agent if the writer had any other material he may well study and contemplate for film jobs.

“My agent, Esther Newberg, told him that he should really study my Sammy Davis Jr. guide,” Haygood said. “Lee took a flight cross-nation for 6 several hours, browse a large amount of the ebook on that flight and by the time he landed, he named me and said that he identified the e book intriguing and that he was heading to solution it.”

Sammy Davis Jr.’s ties to Columbus

Haygood will serve as a producer on the sequence, a position he describes as assisting Daniels and co-writer Thomas Westfall fill in any blanks about Davis’ remarkable daily life.

“Even nevertheless it is a 500-web page guide, there were however a ton of points that I had no place to set in the guide,” he explained.

In a perception, it’s fitting that Davis’ daily life will get to the display many thanks to the endeavours of a Columbus-born creator: Though investigating the biography, Haygood learned that Davis’ first visual appearance on phase was in Columbus, the place his father was doing, in about 1929.

“It was an accident pretty much that Sammy was backstage and experienced variety of gotten dropped backstage and arrived out onstage to be with his dad and just begun dancing,” claimed Haygood, who was not able to pinpoint the name of the Columbus theater exactly where Davis’ debut took area — but he has some strategies.

“I was by no means in a position to discover the precise theater.” he mentioned, “But the Black theater in town was the Lincoln Theatre.”

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This article initially appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Wil Haygood’s Sammy Davis Jr. biography to turn into Hulu sequence