Last month brought news that director George Tillman Jr. will take the reins on a biopic about Miles Davis. Tentatively titled ‘Miles,’ the film is being developed by the late trumpeter’s son, Gregory, who based the project on his book – “Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis.”
Of course there is the ‘other’ Miles Davis Movie, actor Don Cheadle’s long-gestating project that comes with the blessing of the Miles Davis Estate (Erin Davis, Vince Wilburn Jr.) and all the requisite buzz surrounding the talented Cheadle taking on the challenge of portraying the jazz legend.
My other Miles Davis-related blog – The Miles Davis Movie – debuted back in March 2007 around the time Cheadle joined the project, so that gives you an idea of how long this particular attempt to get the Miles Davis story on the big screen has been in the works.
It was never going to be easy for a variety of reasons, but Cheadle’s involvement as star and director appeared to be the final, and most vital, ingredient to get the movie made.
So here we are with just a few weeks left in 2011 and no real idea of when the Cheadle project is set to start rolling.
As for the new biopic, I have not seen any public comments by Cheadle, or members of the estate, about the Gregory Davis/George Tillman Jr. film.
And to be honest, they really don’t have to say a damn thing. Sure, you wonder if there is pressure on Cheadle to get his film shot and released first, but his schedule looks mighty busy these days, so finding the time – along with financing! – is going to be tricky.
It’s not as if there cannot be two films about Miles Davis, but it was already going to be a tough sell to a general audience for one film, and two could be difficult. The fact that one is a more approachable, Hollywood biopic style (like “Ray”), while Cheadle’s is set to be unconventional in its narrative, might help differentiate the two as the competing Miles Davis biopics are set free into the movie-going world.
The trump card for Cheadle’s project is – Cheadle. He is a well-known, well-respected actor who most believe is perfect to play Miles Davis, and are confident will deliver a knock-out performance. And that’s knowing going in it’s not going to be easy. It would not be easy for anyone to play the role of the jazz icon.
It’s anyone’s guess who Tillman Jr. has in mind for the lead role. Maybe there is a big name out there, or perhaps they go the unknown route. But whoever is selected to play Davis will quickly be sized up alongside Cheadle.
We shall see. As for now, all is quiet as we roll merrily along into 2012.