The Miles Davis Movie: Antoine Fuqua: “We’re Trying To Figure Out Where The Money’s Coming From”

Miles Davis Biopic7 Gabe at The Playlist recently caught up with Antoine Fuqua to chat about his current and upcoming films.

Lucky for us Gabe mentioned the Miles Davis Movie that has been in development for what seems like 20 years.

It has been reported here at Miles Davis Online for months, as well as on other websites, that Fuqua is attached to direct. It had always been a rumor, but following a Wall Street Journal video interview with Vince Wilburn Jr. back in November when he acknowledged Fuqua’s involvement, everyone has assumed it’s a done deal. And even though Cheadle was originally planning to be lead actor and director for the film, the news of Fuqua’s involvement can still be considered a positive one moving forward.

However, there has yet to be an official announcement. Fuqua says below in the quote that there are no written deals, so maybe he isn’t officially signed on the dotted line to direct, and this why they are waiting to announce.

They are also a long (long) way from production, so does it really matter at this point?

In his comments to The Playlist, Fuqua underscores what Cheadle has discussed many times over the past few years: it’s all about the money.

It seems that no one is motivated to drop money down on a film about Miles Davis. Or, at least the money people remain hesitant about such a deal.

Here’s the quotes from Fuqua to Gabe:

“Don’s a good friend and we talk about it all the time,” Fuqua says.

“It’s funny when these things get announced, because I’m attached to it, I wanna do it with Don, but there’s no written deals. We’re trying to figure out where the money’s coming from. It’s been surprisingly tough to get the money together to do the Miles Davis story. I love Miles Davis, I love Don, how could you not want to make that if you’re serious about making movies?”

Back in 2010 (!) we posted a story about Cheadle bemoaning the lack of funds for his Miles Davis Movie.

Three years later and it’s still about the money. Plenty of movies, from independent films to movies with a star cast attached, can struggle locating the financing to get the movie made, so the Miles Davis Biopic isn’t alone it’s search for economic support.

But it looks as if until the right financing falls into place this project is going to remain on the shelf. At this rate, they are going to name that particular shelf in honor of the Miles Davis Biopic considering how long it has bounced around, and up and down in development.

Is there a chance potential producers are shying away because Cheadle has positioned the project as the anti-biopic, referring to it as cubist in style, and…yes… a “gangster pic”?

Cheadle: “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.”

Maybe that comment could possibly make someone – with the money – a little antsy about the viability of the film – in a marketing sense. And that means will they be able to reap some of their money back via ticket sales, VOD, DVDs, internet, etc.

The talent is all there, no doubt about it, but even though the traditional cradle-to-grave movie biopic blueprint can get boring – for both the movie-makers and the audience -, it’s still not the worst manner in which to tell a story of a legendary musician.

Cheadle did mention the possibility of a deal last year in a WSJ interview, but either that deal is no more, or just moving really slowly.

So right now we have Don Cheadle, Antoine Fuqua, and all the music rights locked in, and the biopic still can’t get a deal made. It must be something. Maybe movie people just don’t like Miles Davis – or more specifically, they don’t think Miles Davis as the subject of a feature film can make any money at the box office.

I say we go for the 3-night/6-hour TV documentary!

* The above image is part of a series of unofficial teaser posters designed by the very talented Michael Stadtlender.


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