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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It's Kelley-Kelly Day Today...

I would like to give equal Sammy Davis Jr. biopic time to another Kelley, Elijah Kelley to be exact. I had a link to this yesterday, but not everyone clicks on them. My blog is to give exposure to all of Black Hollywood, not just the known ones, as the known ones can be seen on any generic blog. This guy is coming up fast....he talks about his role as Sammy in the upcoming movie:

"It's going pretty well. It is in the works — I'm allowed to say that now," he beamed, navigating the crowded "Hairspray" red carpet. "Something is definitely in the works to be done on that project, and that's a dream project for me. I feel like that would open so many avenues and so many doors."

This candyman ain't kidding. Before his death in 1990, Davis was regularly billed as the "greatest living entertainer in the world." From vaudeville (he began touring at age 3) to Hollywood to Las Vegas, from civil-rights marches to a conversion to Judaism to a world-famous kiss he planted on bigoted TV icon Archie Bunker, and from a car wreck that took his left eye to his controversial support of President Nixon to a poverty-stricken death with his third wife by his side, it would seem like one of the richest biographical parts of all time. As Davis once said: "I'm 64 years old, but I feel I've lived the life of a person at 164."

"I want to capture what actually made him what he was," Kelley insisted. "He got really commercialized as he got older, [but] I just want to show everybody, along with the producers, how he came to be the way he was."

Based on the 1965 autobiography "Yes I Can," Kelley's film will focus predominantly on the younger days of the tap-dancing, comedic, multi-instrumentalist actor. "At age 15, 16 he was in the Army, and that's how his nose got messed up," the star said of a World War II period in the Army when Davis was beaten by his fellow soldiers. "He endured a lot of racial issues, and he got beat down a lot. But the funny thing about Sammy was although he was a bit smaller than I am, and these big guys would beat up on him, he would never stay down."

Much like "Ray," Kelley expects the flick to focus on the racism Davis faced in those days (and in later days, during a relationship with white actress Kim Novak) and depict how the adversity made him stronger. "He would never stay down," Kelley marveled. "The one reason why he was driven to dance so much and do so well was because that was the one place that nobody could touch him. Regardless of who you were, even if you were 7 feet tall ... when he was on that stage you physically couldn't touch him, and you couldn't touch his performance."

Kelley is already hard at work studying the dance moves and songs that made Davis an icon. But as those who've already caught his scene-stealing moves in "Hairspray" know, he's already no slouch.

Which might be a good thing, since Kelley and "Hairspray" producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are currently in an "Armageddon" vs. "Deep Impact"-like race to the big screen. The other competing Sammy projects include "In Black and White," produced by Denzel Washington and Brian Grazer, and "Sammy and Kim" with Andre 3000.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed and keeping my prayers up," Kelley said of the competition, adding that he'll try to just look past the others and do his own thing. "You know what? It's like this: I just want to make the project a quality project. ... Regardless of whether there's 25 of them out, [I want to make] the one that's supposed to be seen, and supposed to be heard, and supposed to be felt."
From I.W.: I agree. People would diss Sammy over the years, but 90% of the population wouldn't have been able to endure what he went through. And to excel on top of it? The man was so focused and determined, it is impossible not to get wrapped up into his life. I was truly sad when he passed, and cried at his T.V. tribute when he cried, shortly before his death, when all of Black Hollywood came out to honor him. I think Elijah gets it.


Coco LaRue said...

He was an absolute delight in "Hairspray"!

Invisible Woman said...

Hey Coco. That's what alot of people are saying.

PurpleZoe said...

I thought Andre3000 had this role?

Invisible Woman said...

There are THREE Sammy Davis biopics coming out...