The Miles Davis Movie: Is There An Exit Plan For Don Cheadle?

There’s always the possibility it just isn’t going to happen for Don Cheadle’s cubist approach to the movie biopic about jazz legend Miles Davis.

As with most non-blockbuster films, money is usually the issue. Cheadle acknowledged this in a 2010 interview with the Hollywood Reporter. Of course scheduling also plays a part, as Cheadle is busy with a variety of TV and film projects.

As of now there is no word of a studio, or independent production company, ready to team up with Cheadle and his Miles Davis Movie project. Or perhaps Cheadle isn’t ready to reveal any big news.

Cheadle did mention a studio deal back in December (2011), but no word about such a deal since.

Though not officially announced, it looks as if Antoine Fuqua will direct the film, which helps with both hype and substance, but even that good news might not carry the film across the finish line.

It could be that plenty of folks like the project, but wonder how much business a film about a jazz musician, even as legendary as Davis, can perform at the box office. Cheadle’s plan to eschew the traditional Hollywood biopic (like “Ray”) for something more avant-garde might also cause some to view it as yet another hurdle in trying to market the film to moviegoers who aren’t much into jazz and know little about Miles Davis.

Of course, you can be uneducated about a biopic subject and still enjoy a darn film – but without the usual blueprint of cradle-to-grave storytelling, it can be a tougher sell.

Not that this film was going to be a summer blockbuster. If anything, it should reap plenty of hype surrounding Cheadle and his performance of the famous Miles Davis. The music is a big plus, considering Cheadle has access to all the classic tunes.

Already a longtime resident of Development Hell, it’s tough to know just where the project stands in terms of an actual timeline for production. Probably far off. That doesn’t mean Cheadle isn’t working hard to try and wrap up a deal, but there might few, willing dance partners.

Let it be known that I have zero insider knowledge, but I have been following the Miles Davis Movie project since March 2007, so there’s no denying my dedication and focus on following the story until the end.

If there is an end. One wonders if Cheadle might ever reach the point when he realizes it’s not going to happen and decide to step away.

Or maybe the project stays on his shelf until all the pieces fall into place – years down the road. I imagine the Miles Davis Estate must have a strong voice in all this, but it takes money first, and distribution second – regardless what the film is about.

They could try to drum up the money, shoot the film and look for a distributor afterwards. Or maybe Cheadle wants all bases covered before he jumps into actually making the movie. And then there’s Fuqua, who has his own movie business gravitas to lend to the development.

I already think a massive film documentary – spare no expense! – might do the trick in telling the story of Miles Davis. But I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t still very excited at the thought of seeing an actor as excellent as Cheadle portray such an iconic figure.

So we’ll see….. Onward and upward.


2 thoughts on “The Miles Davis Movie: Is There An Exit Plan For Don Cheadle?”

  1. I have been following news of this film and sincerely hope the project gets done. I am chair of the Miles Davis Memorial Project in Alton, Illinois, the birthplace of Miles Davis. We are, at the moment, raising funds to create a music plaza to place a statue of this iconic musician in our entertainment district. The chosen sculptor is Preston Jackson from Peoria, IL. We want the plaza to reflect the support all his fans from around the world by asking them to purchase a memorial brick($75) or granite stone ($400). To donate , please call 618-467-2375 or go to our web site at then click on Miles Davis.

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