The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Has Something To Say About the Miles Davis Movie

This is via Don Cheadle’s Twitter page:

Miles Davis flick is on. But I hate the word biopic like Miles hated the word jazz. It’s misleading. Not attempting to tell his life story.

Cheadle’s intent not to produce a traditional biopic has been well-known for some years. Regardless of what I, or anyone else, thinks of the actor’s unconventional narrative he’s designed for the film, the most important part is that at some point we will get to see Miles Davis portrayed on screen – and that is exciting.

Here is the plot:

After his record label steals his comeback album before he’s ready for it to be heard, Miles Davis hunts it down with a journalist and a junkie jazz musician.

That could very well be the makings of a fun night at the movie theater. Or not. No doubt there will be plenty of opinions on Cheadle’s ‘cubist’ take on a film about the jazz legend.

But I wonder, with Cheadle doing his best not to tell the life story of Miles Davis, is it possible for someone else to attempt such a cinematic endeavor?

I have always felt that a blowout-the-budget, three or four-part documentary (film or TV) could do the trick. There have been Miles Davis documentaries previous, but I mean a really big, Ken Burns-style production.

I’m looking forward to see what Cheadle has in store for his directorial debut. But I’d still love to see a biopic about Miles Davis in the same style as Ray or Walk the Line. Maybe a Miles Davis film generated by a Hollywood studio just wouldn’t cut it. Maybe it’s too hard to sell to the general public. Who knows? But for now, we will see what Cheadle has for us, plus the Miles Davis movie from director George Tillman Jr. (based on the book “Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis”, written by Gregory Davis).

I’m going to be very interested to see how they market this film. Obviously you have the icon Miles Davis as the focus, plus a talented actor such as Cheadle starring in and directing the project. But it’s a quirky plot. But it might have an immense amount of ‘cool’ to go with it, something that usually follows around a Tarantino film when it arrives on screen.

In the short-term, congratulations to Cheadle and Co. for finally getting the project over the finish line. This project has been percolating for a long time. I started following back in 2007, when Cheadle jumped aboard. I have spilled a lot of digital ink about this project, most of it fun conjecture about who should play who, what scenes needs to be included, and just about anything you can think of related to a movie project that was short of actual news and had become a Hall of Fame member of Development Hell.

I have enjoyed following the project from the start, and I will continue to chronicle the film as the cameras start rolling.

The best is yet to come…..


3 thoughts on “The Miles Davis Movie: Don Cheadle Has Something To Say About the Miles Davis Movie”

  1. “Best is Yet to Come,” good tune but I’m not sure Miles played it. Who’s the other ‘jazz musician’ and why is he there? I smell plot lines and artificial obscuring in the name of faux ‘cool’ but I could be wrong. Gonna be hard to make the label the bad guy and who the Hell cares if we can’t stop in at a bar/club and hear some good jazz. Milles was being his usual ornery self when he said he hated the word ‘jazz’ I’m sure. I have several Milles ‘stories’ that I could weave into a narrative that would both highlight and obfuscate the Miles legend without resorting to violence. The tracks behind the acts would help spin the tale.

    1. I agree with you. Great comments. It seems almost too clever. But I’m in the cheering section for a traditional biopic, or at least something close. They have access to all the best of his music, so it will be interesting to see if the classics make it into the movie. But how does something from “Kind of Blue” make it into a film such as this?

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