Cheadle Cheadle

Biopics on Miles Davis, Justin Bieber and Richard Pryor Headed To The Big Screen

Hollywood biopics never get old because audiences remain fascinated by the lives of entertainers and always love a birdseye view to see how they live them. Actors enjoy playing these classic roles because it allows them to become bigger iconic figures than themselves, and can sometimes garner Academy Award buzz and attention. That happened for Angela Bassett when she earned a best actress nomination for her portrayal of Tina Turner in 1993'What’s Love Got To Do With It. And these films can even provide a shortcut to mining Oscar gold only after a short time in the film world like Jamie Foxx accomplished by playing Ray Charles in 2004's Ray. So whether these actors are in it for the glory or the gold, here are a handful of biopics moviegoers will be front and center for when they hit the big screen.—Ronke Idowu Reeves

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Don Cheadle as Miles Davis (currently untitled)

Reel History: The Miles Davis biopic was supposed to be done a few times prior to Don Cheadle’s involvement. During the 1990s both actors Wesley Snipes and Michael Wright (Sugar Hill) each had competing projects in development in their rush to bring the story of the Kind of Blue trumpeter to the screen. Both of those races ended in a dead end deadheat.

MilesIs It a Biopic or a Movie? Don Cheadle told VIBE exclusively: “It’s just a movie. Biopics are concerned with cradle to the grave depictions of a subject and character. This movie is much more expressive. And in my opinion, we’re hopefully making a movie that Miles would want to be in as opposed to it just 'being about Miles.' It’s all about his life but its not specific facts, those are irrelevant.”

Box Office Hit or Miss: A definite hit whether the filmmakers target the indie art house crowd [Basquiat] or go after mainstream audience [Ray]. Like Ray Charles, Miles Davis was one of those galvanizing music figures embraced and loved by audiences young and old and black and white for decades. Cheadle not only shares a physical resemblance  to Davis, but also has the dramatic acting chops to pull this off. Plus the Iron Man 2 star has enough big box office screen successes to make this a Hollywood financial success story . Finally, Cheadle also has the experience of playing an iconic legend on screen; he portrayed Sammy Davis Jr. in the HBO movie The Rat Pack. The Miles Davis project is still in development and securing financing. Its release date has been tentatively set for 2013.

Official stamp of approval: The Miles Davis/Don Cheadle projected has been blessed by the Davis family specifically son Erin, who also served as a Davis bandmember in his legend's later years. Erin Davis and other family members will also serve as film producers.

 

Justin Bieber as Justin Bieber in Justin Bieber 3D Movie (working title)

bieberReel History: Before you chuckle at the prospect of this teenage mega-phenom tackling his own story, recognize that Muhammad Ali in The Greatest,  Richard Pryor in JoJo Dancer Your Life Is Calling You and even Fantasia Barrino in the Lifetime TV movie, Life is not a Fairytale all did so before him. (Not to compare The Bieb to the greatests in boxing or comedy but he’s already achieved demigod status among the teenybopper set.)

Box Office Hit or Miss: Definite hit. The Justin Bieber movie will cash in on the current 3D film craze, be directed by Jon Chu (Step Up 3D) and spotlight his rags to riches story specifically how Bieber's career, fame and celebrity was created by the Internet.  Based on his music sales, the frenzied Beiber fever response he solicits wherever he appears plus his huge crossover popularity, expect this movie to open at number one on its scheduled release date Valentine's Day weekend February 11th 2011. Bieber could even give Michael Jackson's This is it and The Jonas Bros 3D Concert Experience a run for the money in the highest grossing music films in box office history department. Stay tuned.

Official stamp of approval: Justin Bieber obviously signed off on this project, so there were no permission or music licensing issues here.

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Drake To Direct Upcoming ’48 Laws Of Power’ Episode On Quibi

While Drake is behind the mic laying down new verses for upcoming music, the Toronto native will also step behind the camera to direct an episode of an upcoming series. Based on Robert Greene’s best-selling book The 48 Laws of Power, the series of the same name will debut on Quibi in the near future.

Drake’s production company Dreamcrew, and Anonymous Content will helm the executive producing duties. The partnership will also receive executive direction from Dreamcrew’s co-founder Adel “Future” Nur and executive Jason Shrier. “When Drake and I sat down with Robert Greene it was incredibly inspiring,” Future said. “The laws allow for a wide range of dynamic storytelling and Quibi allows us to tell these stories in bite-sized chapters similar to the book.” The entertainment outlet will launch on mobile on Apr. 6.

Greene, who’ll be an executive producer as well, said he’s looking forward to the cinematic adaptation of his 1998 book. The passage outlines the road to success through philosophies taught by Sun-tzu, Machiavelli, and more.

"I have always thought that The 48 Laws of Power would be a perfect fit for a series, bringing to life the timeless Machiavellian game of power as portrayed in the book. But it was not until Drake and Future with Anonymous Content approached me with their unique cinematic approach to the laws that I knew I could join forces with them and go all in for a filmed interpretation of my work," Greene said. Anonymous Content will spearhead the studio.

Although music videos might be the only time you see Drake on the television screen, for now, the 33-year-old has his hands in a couple of TV projects from Netflix to HBO. On the former streaming service, Drake executive produced London's hit series Top Boy. On HBO, the first season of Euphoria, which Drake recently posted a picture of a table read on his Instagram, is headed into its second season. The production is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Kenya Barris’ ‘#blackAF’ Netflix Series Debuts New Trailer

Kenya Barris is looking to command the Netflix universe with another program for the streaming giant titled #blackAF. The series, set to premiere on Apr. 17, will depict his parenting skills and family structure in “a total reboot of the family sitcom” dynamic.

The mockumentary stars Rashida Jones, with guest spots from Nia Long, Tyler Perry, Mike Epps and more. Barris will also step into a leading role, playing a version of himself. Its description reads: “With new money and expensive tastes, Kenya Barris and his family navigate success and explore the struggles of being unapologetically black and wealthy.”

The show arrives after Barris' previous sketch comedy series, Astronomy Club, which debuted in 2019. The 45-year-old director/writer has also created hit programming including his -ish canon of black-ish, grown-ish, and mixed-ish. Barris is also responsible for writing the sequel to Coming to America.

View the trailer below.

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‘Dutch’ Trailer Features Lance Gross, Macy Gray And More

In an adaptation of Teri Woods' best-selling Dutch novel, the film of the same name will finally hit theaters in Fall 2020. The movie stars Lance Gross, Macy Gray, Melissa Williams, James Hyde and more.

The motion picture is directed by Preston Whitmore (This Christmas) and tells the story of Bernard “Dutch” James Jr., an ambitious drug dealer who has his sights set on becoming the East Coast’s top drug lord while battling a high-profile court case.

"We really got our hands on an all-star cast," says Manny Halley, producer of Dutch and founder of Imani Media Group. "Dutch is an iconic story within the urban literary genre, so we had to get every detail right—and I think we did. Fans will be looking for us to finish the trilogy with this one!"

The book "Dutch" was part of a trilogy series that first began in 2003. It was followed by "Dutch II: Angel’s Revenge," and "Dutch III: International Gangster."

View the trailer above.

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