The Miles Davis Movie: Should Don Cheadle not direct and just focus on playing Miles Davis?

cheadle_miles_getty_2601 File this under conjecture because I need material, people. Let it be known I’m on record in my confidence with Cheadle as star and director of the Miles Movie, but that doesn’t mean I’m not up for a fun game of What If.

From what I’ve read, Cheadle has a vision for the biopic – namely that he doesn’t plan to follow the traditional blueprint. As star and director (and driving force) Cheadle is perched atop this project as its chief steward.

But let’s say he decides to focus solely on the role – a big role at that.

The idea of bringing in a new director would instantly open up to the project to a new influence and with it the possibility of changes to the script and narrative. This depends on whom of course. If it’s Michael Mann, for example, he’s going to put his stamp on the project. If it’s a newcomer then most likely Cheadle keeps the upper hand in steering the development.

Seeing as his Crescendo Productions is producing the biopic, you’d figure Cheadle’s (other) function, as producer, would keep his hands firmly locked on the steering wheel as the movie takes shape.

Right now it’s very much a Don Cheadle project, but I think the overall production would be retooled were a big-name director brought in. This isn’t to say Cheadle would just bow out of the development and say he’ll see everyone on set when he’s Miles Davis. But my guess is alterations to the theme would be in order.

It’s not like we’re a week out from shooting and a new director is brought in last minute; then I’d say he/she would just go with what’s ready for the camera.

But as of now there’s a script. There are probably numerous drafts in circulation as the team constructs the narrative. However it’s still early enough that if Cheadle brought on someone else to direct it wouldn’t harm the schedule, which is slow to begin with.

As far as I can tell the Miles Davis biopic would mark Cheadle’s first time in the directors’ chair. Back in June I wrote, “It’s going to be challenging enough for Don Cheadle to transform into the mind, body and soul of one of the most important figures in jazz music history… let alone direct the movie.”

I still feel the same way, but I’m wholly confident in his vision and passion for the movie; a vision, to be honest, I’m still trying to realize knowing it will be a non-traditional narrative, when all along I thought we were headed for something “Ray”-like.

I did ask readers who they’d be interested in seeing take the reins of the film were they given the choice. Names like Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson and Spike Jonze were thrown out, and really, there’s a host of top shelf directors who could craft something wonderful with the story of Miles Davis.

But just as I wrote last year: “I’m quite confident that Cheadle is bursting with ideas for the biopic, ready to produce something special — for fans of Miles Davis and just fans of good movies….”


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