The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Says They Have A Studio Offer; Describes Movie’s Style As ‘Cubist’

With 2012 knocking on the door, we leave 2011 with a blast of exciting news from Don Cheadle regarding the Miles Davis Movie. Here’s the Don Cheadle q&a with John Jurgensen from Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

You’ve been midwifing a Miles Davis movie for years. Is that baby still alive?

It is. It’s the longest in utero in the history of babies. It’s three to five years average for most movies to get made, but often it’s 10 or 15 years. This is the kind of movie the business 10 years ago may have leapt at. But now, you don’t really see movies like this. We have a studio offer and we’re trying to back into a budget number, like we always have to do, without gutting the piece.

It’s been reported that a director has been attached to a competing biopic.

That’s something I just heard about in the last month. Look, if the world is ready to have two Miles Davis movies, fantastic. He should have eight or 10 of them.

It’s such a struggle to secure life rights and music rights that it’s hard to believe two pictures about him could actually get made.

Well, that’s not going to happen, clearly. We’re working with the family and we have all the music. There’s another period of music, about three or four years [that the other project appears to have rights to]. These estates are sometimes bifurcated. We have what we need for our film. Look, God bless. If there’s another quality movie about this legend, that’s great.

I don’t think anyone’s going to be making the kind of movie we’re making. It’s not a biopic, per se. It’s a gangster pic. It’s a movie that Miles Davis would have wanted to star in. Without throwing history away, we’re trying to shuffle it and make it more cubist.

The bulk of it takes place in ’79, in a period where he actually wasn’t playing. But we traverse a lot of it his life, but it’s not a cradle to grave story.

Lots of good stuff!

So now we know when the film is set – 1979. But according to Cheadle they bounce around a lot. The opposite of a traditional biopic, but still – hopefully – touching on important moments in the jazz icon’s life. Being that it’s 1979, will Cicely Tyson show up in the story?

I’m curious to know which studio made the offer.

I like this quote from Cheadle: “This is the kind of movie the business 10 years ago may have leapt at. But now, you don’t really see movies like this.”

Avant-garde movies? Movies that are good? Because there is a lot of garbage out there today and any chance we can get a good movie is fine by me.

But this quote confuses me: “It’s not a biopic, per se. It’s a gangster pic. It’s a movie that Miles Davis would have wanted to star in.”

‘Gangster pic?’ What? If ever we needed a follow-up question. Is this Miles Davis meets ‘Goodfellas’? I’m intrigued and confused all at once! [Ed. Note: Obviously it’s not ‘gangster’ like that…. Not in the ‘Godfather’ sense of the word.]

He also seems to imply that the George Tillman Jr. movie will not have access to the bulk of Miles’ most famous music – just a small period of music he recorded over a 3 or 4 year period (most likely later in his career.)

However, Cheadle is all for as many Miles Davis biopics as humanly possible.

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