The Miles Davis Movie: The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

cool-miles You could make a strong argument that this Blog about the Miles Davis biopic is a bit early to the party.

Like the band hasn’t even set up yet kind of early.

It just feels like the Miles Davis biopic is a long way off from completion. That’s not to say the project is stuck at the starting gate, but by no means is the movie in the home stretch towards premiering at the local theater.

Without much news to stoke the hype and keep interest high, momentum behind the Miles Davis movie begins to wane; a stark contrast from last year when it was announced, to much hoopla, that Don Cheadle would be the star and director of the Miles Davis biopic.

But no one said the movie-making machine is a speedy one. And hey, it’s fun to speculate (re: this Blog!) and discuss the project from all sides.

I’m pretty much clueless as to where the Miles Davis biopic stands regarding development and eventual production. I just assume and go by any news that gets out, however minute.

Sometimes my assumptions about the state of the biopic are based on what I don’t see in the media.

Last week I read about Don Cheadle being honored with the humanitarian award at the 17th annual BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards in Los Angeles (along with Tilda Swinton/artist of the year, Stephen Frears/John Schlesinger directing award and Sean Penn/Stanley Kubrick award).

And that’s fantastic for Cheadle – he deserves all accolades when it comes to his fight against atrocities around the globe.

But in the Variety write-up I noticed a few sentences about his upcoming projects: The drama Brooklyn’s Finest directed by Antoine Fuqua and the comedy Hotel for Dogs.

Both projects are slated for a 2009 release. No mention of the Untitled Miles Davis Biopic (as it’s referred to on

The absence of the Miles Davis biopic is telling because it’s clear the project is not on the fast-track, as it were. That’s a bummer.

Speaking of IMDB, on Cheadle’s page the Untitled Miles Davis Biopic movie is not even listed. However there’s a good chance it is part of, which lists 5 in-development credits available. Let’s assume one of those is the Miles Davis biopic.

Still, just looking at what he has lined up on the regular IMDB page it is clear there’s not a lot of wiggle room for filming the Miles Davis movie.

The Avengers (2011) (announced)…. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes
Marching Powder (2010) (announced)
Iron Man 2 (2010) (pre-production)…. Col. James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes

Two of those are big movies and that’s great for Cheadle. But for anyone remotely interested in the fate of the Miles Davis movie it’s a bit saddening because development hell is a place no one wants this project to exist.

We know there’s a script circulating, but so much has to be in place before cameras role – namely money and distribution and lord knows what else. Oh, and a cast besides Cheadle. lislsteiner-miles-davis-de-buhne1962c2

The silver lining to all this was an entertainment brief last month that specifically addressed the Miles Davis biopic:

Forget reports of the demise of the long-talked-about Miles Davis film biography. Erin Davis tells us he’s just finished reading the script for the feature that Don Cheadle plans to direct, with Cheadle himself starring as the mercurial music legend.

“It was great, a great script,” Davis enthuses. “They’ll probably do some revisions on it and tighten it up, but maybe it can get started next year for a release in ’10.”

That news item is what keeps hope alive around Miles Davis Movie headquarters that one day we’ll see a movie about the life and times of Miles Davis.

I’ll admit that the part about maybe getting started in ’09 is troubling. A 2009 production start is even more daunting when you consider Cheadle having joined the Marvel Entertainment behemoth with “Iron Man 2” and “The Avengers.”

Could be we don’t see Miles on screen until 2011. Is it possible a new presidential election could be underway by the time the Miles Davis biopic hits theatres?


To sum it all up I will tweak one of my favorite lines of dialogue delivered by Robert Duvall as Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore in Apocalypse Now:

“Someday this Miles Davis movie is gonna get made …”


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