For well over a decade, a film based on the life of legendary trumpeter Miles Davis has been in development. Don Cheadle, who is starring, directing and producing the project, says the stop-and-go project is finally gaining some momentum.
“We are coming right up on the end point,” the Academy Award-nominated actor tells VIBE. “I think we are getting to the point where we may get some traction and get it going.”
In his portrayal of Davis, Cheadle maintains that he wants to go beyond the usual trappings of the biopic, exposing the story of a man who overcame heroin addiction to become one of music’s most influential mavericks to a new audience.
“Miles Davis is a beloved artist,” he says. “But not to the degree that a 17-year old would know who he is. Unfortunately, people don’t know the seeds. In my attempt to tell the story, I’m not trying to do some reverential all-of-us-bow-down-to-Miles-the-icon. I’m trying to present him as a man. I’m trying to make a movie that Miles Davis would want to make.”
The movie will be long overdue. As far as back as 1993, Hollywood has been eager to bring the iconic artist to the big screen. Initially Wesley Snipes was set to play Davis, who not only expanded the boundaries of jazz from his early days playing with bebop deity Charlie Parker in the 1940s, but merged with rock and funk on his groundbreaking album Bitches Brew. Cheadle took over the role in 2007.
More recently, Cheadle will star in the Antoine Fuqua-directed cop drama Brooklyn’s Finest, out on Friday (March 5) as well as the big-budget superhero flick Iron Man 2 in May. —Keith Murphy