The Miles Davis Movie: A new Miles Davis film in the works?

It’s late Friday night, and I’m surfing the ‘net looking for news on the Miles Davis movie — and when I speak of the Miles Davis movie I mean the project being developed by Don Cheadle, who is on board to star and direct.

I come across this news item from Thursday’s edition of the New York Post:

…Nick Davis Raynes, is a well-mannered movie producer who just optioned the rights to “Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis,” by the jazz great’s son, Gregory Davis. “I’m a huge fan of Miles Davis. We plan to tell his true story and preserve his legacy,” Raynes told Page Six. Gregory was the only son who traveled with Miles on tour, but then had to sue his father’s estate because he was left out of his will. Besides the lead role, there will be juicy parts playing Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix. “Miles was a huge mentor to Hendrix,” Raynes said.

Interesting news, but let me get to a few points: First off, I have not read the book. Based on some reviews on I’m not missing anything – but I should read it for myself before forming an opinion. Secondly, anyone with money (and even the slightest movie ‘biz connection) can option a book for a film adaptation. One look at the state of the book publishing industry, and I am sure the publisher was happy to oblige for the movie rights.

Look, if I had the financing and a proper plan I’d make a play for the rights to a book on Miles Davis. But I digress.

Gregory Davis is the son of a jazz icon, so clearly he sees a chance to get the story, or at least his version of it, produced; he writes a book a few years ago and looking for a cinematic play is the next, logical step. Enter Nick Davis Raynes.

But let’s be clear: Optioning the book is as step 1 in the process as it gets. Now it’s development time. Now it’s adapt the book to a screenplay time. Now it’s get actors attached. Etc.

I continue to be a supporter of Don Cheadle and co. as they develop their project (along with the confidence it will be an artistic and commercial success), but if I read tomorrow about six other Miles Davis movie projects I’d be happy.

Competition breeds excellence.

So while I’ve become somewhat emotionally invested in what Don Cheadle is trying to do, I have no problem with Davis’ son angling for his own movie version of his father’s life. Son or no son, it’s a tough road to get any movie produced these days.

I applaud Nick Davis Raynes because not only is he a fan of Davis’, but he sees the cinematic potential. I’m sure a lot of folks in the movie ‘biz (and out) would love to take on a Miles Davis biopic, and here is someone who is at least taking the first step.

Welcome to the party…


3 thoughts on “The Miles Davis Movie: A new Miles Davis film in the works?”

  1. You never cease to amaze me with the info you find. This is awesome news! Competition is good!

    I had the privledge of meeting Herman Leonard last weekend at a lecture and reception at Santa Monica College. Since he has photographed Miles on many ocassions, I brought one of Miles’ jackets with me and Herman actually tried it on, and it fit. He had some wonderful stories to tell of a lot of jazz greats.

  2. hi grace –

    i have to say meeting herman leonard would be a lot of fun. i bet it was a terrific event. i don’t live too far from sm college – i wish i had known he would be there. i have some of his work and he is just a wonderful talent. i can only imagine the stories he has to tell, and the note about the jacket is great!


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