Don Cheadle on Becoming Miles Davis

This weekend Mr. Cheadle arrives in “Miles Ahead,” a decidedly nonbiopic-like film about the towering jazz trumpeter and composer. Far from the typical linear film narrative, in which a great jazz voice is inevitably brought down, often for good, by drink or drugs (think “Bird,” “’Round Midnight,” “Let’s Get Lost” or “Lady Sings the Blues”), “Miles Ahead” focuses on a period in the late 1970s when Davis wasn’t performing at all. “I loved the incongruity,” Mr. Cheadle said. “The Miles ‘play what’s not there’ idea of it.”

Since its premiere at the New York Film Festival in October, the movie has earned praise for its unconventional portrait of the influential musician. David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter called it “an adventurous, music-saturated depiction of one of the genre’s undisputed greats,” while A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote that “anyone who wants to get a jump on possible Oscar nominees for 2017” should see the film.

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