Director Antoine Fuqua’s name has been associated for many years with the Miles Davis Biopic.
I have always figured Don Cheadle would direct the film, along with portraying the jazz legend. In March of 2007, news officially broke of Cheadle’s involvement with the project; a story in Variety noted that Cheadle would make his feature directing debut with the Miles Davis movie. A 2006 JazzTimes article pointed out that the estate had been in talks with Fuqua (along with Cheadle), but clearly Cheadle wanted to play Miles as well as direct the film, so out went the Fuqua connection.
In an interview last month with Spain-based online newspaper ABC.es, Erin Davis, son of Miles, said that Antoine Fuqua is the director.
It’s not news the Miles Davis estate and Cheadle have been talking to Fuqua. But if he is, indeed, officially set to direct, the news has yet to be confirmed across mainstream airwaves – as far as I know.
I’ve written in the past about Cheadle possibly relinquishing directing duties and just focusing solely on portraying Miles. I even offered up some director names to get the conversation started about who people would like to see direct the Miles Davis Biopic should Cheadle exit the position.
If the comment from Davis about Fuqua is true, then looks like Cheadle is comfortable with just starring, producing and – undoubtedly – orchestrating the film’s style and narrative.
Fuqua’s IMDB page does not list the Untitled Miles Davis Biopic as a future project. However, Cheadle’s page does not list the film in his Actor file, just off to the side under Projects In Development.
It could be that without the financing set up yet – although it might be, I have no idea -, everyone wants to keep any high-profile news on the back burner. Aside from news about Herbie Hancock scoring the film and whatever inside info Cheadle reveals, it’s mostly radio silence.
I like many of Fuqua’s films, so his involvement works for me. It’s Don Cheadle’s vision, as far as I can tell, so far, so it appears if the Fuqua news is true, then the director is also comfortable with Cheadle’s unique vision for the movie.
I’d be curious to know why, in the end, Cheadle decided to relinquish the director’s chair, but with a busy schedule, perhaps concentrating on portraying a jazz icon and getting the project into production mode is quite enough.
The article with Erin Davis mentioned the film will start production next year, just as an album of Miles Davis tunes re-worked by hip-hop artists is put together. No firm details on either points, but the hip-hop angle is an interesting one and demands further examination down the road.
But it’s definitely a good thing if we are, indeed, a few steps closer to a start date for the biopic.