Bad news for Don Cheadle? Last we heard the actor had a script completed for his own long developing dream project, a biopic on the legendary jazz artist Miles Davis. With support from the Davis estate and from the music labels that control the rights to his work, and with Herbie Hancock lined up to score the project, all Cheadle needed was financing for the movie that would see him direct and take on the role of the jazz icon. But almost a year has passed since that last update and word has gone disappointingly quiet. And now, another project, also backed by the Davis family may take the pole position in the race to bring the musician’s life to the big screen.
George Tillman Jr., the man behind last year’s B-movie action piece “Faster” and who has dipped his toes in musical biopic territory previously with “Notorious,” is now set to helm “Miles.” The project is still in early stages, but it currently has a first draft of script by Isaac Fergusson that is loosely based on the book “Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis” but producers Nick Davis Raynes (“Carlito’s Way: Rise To Power“) and Ged Dickersin (“City Island“) are still tinkering with it. Of course, “Walk The Line” and “Ray” are being invoked as the standard the filmmakers are striving to live up to and promisingly, Gregory Davis, the musician’s son, promises the movie will be presented “without any sugar-coating.”
No word yet on when this potentially might roll in front of cameras, or what this means for Cheadle’s endeavor, but we’re going to get the Miles Davis story on the big screen one way or another. Casting this will definitely be interesting. We sort of had Cheadle memory burned in our brain for the past little while for the part, but the door is wide open with this new project. Anthony Mackie maybe? As for Tillman, he’s a competent enough helmer, though with no particular flair that makes us thing he’ll bring any special take to the project. “Notorious” was a pretty dry affair for a movie about one of the biggest hip hop artists of our time. But he’s got a biopic about Peter Buckley, the worst boxer of all time, in the works so perhaps that will see him expand his talents there before tackling this. [THR]