This year, when Lionel Richie announced plans to produce a film about Sammy Davis Jr.'s life, it seemed like the ideal time to bring the dazzling characters of A Detour to Mexico to life.
It was written in 2005, when Altovise Davis, the widow of the Rat Pack Star, wanted to fulfill a special request made by her husband. The entertainer had started performing when he was only three years old and had never attended school. Sammy couldn't read or write until he was an adult, and having regretted this, asked his wife to reach out and urge kids to get their education.
Pamela Sherrod wanted to do ministry work and offer encouragement to young people who were facing adversity. She was concerned about the increasingly violent and sexually explicit imagery that the entertainment industry was bombarding them with. Increasing, she felt called to share inspiring stories of miracles and the type of wholesome films that seemed to be missing. She remembers saying that, "You can either sit home and complain, or get up and make a difference!"
She wanted to stress to kids that they should never give up on God or themselves. "God is love, " she said, reciting the Bible Scripture she'd later use for the movie's theme. "So, whatever you do, whatever you create, do it with God. Love never fails."
Within three months, the women created the screenplay, A Detour to Mexico, a musical about an American family of entertainers who're traveling to a competition, only to be faced with overwhelming challenges. Pamela and Altovise were thrilled by the initial reception of their story. They had no idea that their faith in their own message would soon be tested.
Much like their characters, Pamela and Mrs. Davis encountered unexpected setbacks and painful tragedies, including Altovise’s death a few months after they'd established their production company. When Pamela's fiance committed suicide, thirty-five days later, all their plans came to a screeching halt. "I was too shattered to even function," she says.
The story behind this screenplay is one of triumph over tragedy. In moving forward, Pamela hopes to emphasize the importance of holding on to your faith, especially when faced with adversity. Her conviction to finish the film that they started is fueled by her hopes of demonstrating its powerful message: God is Love. So, never give up, because love never fails.