On a purely entertainment level this web project will continue in the New Year to ‘deconstruct’ each and every component of the Miles Davis biopic. This movie is going to happen, and I’m hoping 2009 is the year cameras finally roll. Then again ’09 could be lost while Don Cheadle works on “Iron Man 2.”
From all accounts the Miles movie is a priority for Cheadle, but it remains a project that exists in limbo while the parts come together.
This is not a fast-track movie.
Go back to Pat Broeske’s Nov. 2006 article about a Miles movie:
The producer Rudy Langlais said independent financing for “Miles and Me” is in place through Patriot Pictures and Beacon Pictures, and talks are under way with actors and filmmakers.
Then I jumped back to 2004 and this quick, news brief that quotes Langlais, who had just acquired the movie rights:
The film is inspired by Fellini’s “8 1/2” in its depiction of an artist of singular talent and legend, unyielding in his creative and personal life…
Miles Davis meets Federico Fellini. Hmmm….
Obviously Quincy Troupe’s Miles and Me was the foundation for this particular film about Miles Davis; but it wouldn’t have been a cookie-cutter biopic, rather Troupe’s story, which details his experiences with Miles.
It’s about a friendship — a hard-won friendship — between two black men, both of them artists,” Mr. Troupe explained in Broeske’s article about the project. “Through that friendship, the film will explore Miles’ life.
Is that the movie people want to see about Miles Davis? It might not matter because I’m not sure that project even exists anymore.
Back to Broeske:
A Davis film, with Wesley Snipes mentioned as the star, was first attempted by the former CBS Records chief executive Walter Yetnikoff, who played a role in encouraging Davis to record his landmark jazz-rock album “Bitches Brew” in 1969. Mr. Yetnikoff acquired the rights to Davis’s life and music, as well as to his autobiography. “But I didn’t know what I didn’t know,” Mr. Yetnikoff said in an interview. “And I didn’t know how to make a movie.
Hot actor Wesley Snipes, who is thrilling audiences as a blond villain in Demolition Man, is set to bring to the big screen the life story of legendary jazz artist Miles Davis. Snipes is co-producing the project as well as starring in it, a spokesman told Jet. It is just getting underway and won’t be released until sometime in 1994.
Well, that doesn’t seem to have panned out. But it’s clear the goal of making a movie about Miles Davis has been an endeavor many screenwriters, actors and producers have embarked upon.
In 2006 Doug Ramsey wrote of producing a biopic about Miles Davis:
The challenge of containing in even a long picture the contradictions in Davis’s character, the variety of his music and the complex web of his relationships could make film biographies like Ray and Walk The Line seem simple assignments.
It will take a director of extraordinary skill and insight, and an exceptional actor, to fairly portray the creative son of a middle-class family who at twenty reached the apex of jazz with Charlie Parker and later decided to cloak himself in the image of a dirty-talking gut-punching street fighter.
Hard to sum it up better than that…
But with Cheadle we have an “exceptional” actor. As a director we can assume he has the chops, but there’s always the chance he ops out of the director’s chair and focuses solely on playing Miles Davis. We shall see.
Is the story of the Prince of Darkness un-filmable? I doubt it. But it’s definitely a tall order, for many of the reasons stated above and then some. But I have hope. Much hope. I still firmly believe Cheadle is the best actor to portray Miles Davis (a career-defining role in my opinion), and judging by his comments, he’s passionate about telling a great story. He might be envisioning something non-traditional in how to ‘film’ that story, but I’m confident it’ll be special.
There’s word of another, maybe two, Miles Davis projects out there, jockeying for position as they go through development. But the Miles Davis biopic we follow regularly here is the one blessed by the Miles Davis estate, and at this point the most legitimate project (with the music rights locked up and Hollywood star attached) out there with the best chance to appear at a local movie theatre this decade.
You might say we’ve hitched our star to the Untitled Miles Davis Biopic wagon, which is how the Cheadle-led biopic is listed on IMDB.
At present time the film has the date 2011 next to it.
Looks like I have a lot of writing about the Miles Davis biopic ahead of me in 2009…2010…2011…
Happy New Year!