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OUTTAKES

Fade To Black

January 12, 1986|Lewis Beale

Another Malcolm X screenplay, the fifth since the early 1970s, is in the typewriter. Novelist David Bradley, a prof at Philadelphia's Temple University, is completing the first draft of a screenplay about the life of the late black leader. It's the latest commissioned by producer Marvin Worth, who produced the 1972 documentary "Malcolm X."

Several treatments for a feature--including one by James Baldwin--didn't work out, and the project lay dormant until 1983, when playwright David Mamet and director Sidney Lumet gave it a go. Again, no luck.

"I don't want to say that the screenplays were bad," said Worth. "It's just that they weren't what I wanted. You've got a tricky thing here. You've got to make it entertaining, and you have to be responsible, because it's Malcolm."

Worth, in partnership with Malcolm's widow, Betty Shabazz, hired Bradley after reading his award-winning book, "The Chaneysville Incident," as well as his unproduced screenplay about the late soul singer Otis Redding.

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