Sammy Davis Jr. biographical film in trouble?
I'm a huge fan of the Rat Pack, in particular Dean Martin, and there are some fabulous stories to be had in the lives of the three (or five depending on what definition of the Rat Pack you adhere too) both separately and in the team. So the news that the Sammy Davis Jr. film that was to star Andre Benjamin is hitting rewrites is rather disappointing.
Not only that but it seems as though Benjamin may no longer be involved, and frankly I think he was a stunning choice.
During an interview André Benjamin, the star of OutKast who is a singer, dancer and actor said:
"The Sammy Davis Jr. movie, I think, is in re-writes right now…That wasn't, like, a done deal…It was announced, I think, that the director and the producers wanted me to play Sammy Davis…And I'd be honored to do it."
I thought that he would be a perfect match, he certainly has the talent and there's even a similarity in features, and that aside the top class entertainer has such a great life story and so much to tell that it would make for a great film.
I would love to see a series of four films picking different combinations of writers and directors to create individual stories of the three main Rat Pack members and finally a film about the Rat Pack as a one. Each film would provide something uniquely different and wouldn't just be a story of an entertainer. There's Sammy Davis Jr. and the struggles against racial inequality and yet rising to the top of his career, there's the Frank Sinatra story dripped with mob ties and fantastical leading ladies and Hollywood stars, and there's the Dean Martin story of a misunderstood and wonderfully warm and giving man.
Each could present a different story, and then there's the story of them all working together in film and on stage, filled with musical numbers and hilarious scenes from their stage performances. Could it really be commercial? I definitely think so, especially with the resurgence of swing.
The comments at MTV Movies Blog has Andre Benjamin looking at the recent performance of musical biographies and wondering if we're about to see them sing their final line for now.
"The funny thing with the biopics [is their uncertainty], I mean, it's the same thing with 'Hendrix'…It's kinda like, until you are on set doing it you can't say what's going on, because everybody wants to do the movie, but there are so many things that go into a biopic."
I'm not really sure what he's alluding to, perhaps it's the fact that they have to obtain rights to the music and in the case of the Jimi Hendrix film the family just didn't allow it.
Both are a big shame if you ask me. Benjamin is a great singer and he's also got some serious acting abilities, I would have loved to have seen him as Hendrix, but most definitely as Davis Jr. It looks like the first is definitely a no go and the second may well be a struggle.
However the film Sammy and Kim is in the rewriting stage so there is still hope. I just wonder if musical biographies really are starting to fall by the wayside, and if they are do you think the reason is because we're bored of them, or is it because they aren't as good as they once more.