The Great Debaters:MTV recently got word that Denzel Washington will next helm The Great Debaters, rather than the Sammy Davis Jr. biopic as previous thought...

Denzel Washington is instead directing "The Great Debaters," a movie based on a true story about an all-black high school debate team in 1935.

As for the Sammy Davis Jr. movie, Washington will serve in a producer capacity.

"[Producer] Brian Grazer and I bought the rights to a great book and we're developing the material," Washington said. "I guess because it was in the paper, everybody thinks I'm directing it."

That book is Wil Haygood's biography, "In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Jr." Washington has hired Haygood to write the first draft of the script, which will start with Davis at age 4, when he first began singing and dancing with his father on the vaudeville circuit.

"I just like the story," Washington said. "It's a different take. It's not just all through his life. It's really about the relationship with him and [mentor] Will Maston and his father."

Washington, who does not plan to appear in the film, wants the spotlight to be on Davis' offscreen relationships, not with his Rat Pack peers.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.