Today in history… September 28, 1991… Jazz legend Miles Davis died at age 65.
I think many will find it odd that we still haven't seen a proper biopic on the man, but taking a look at my 50+ Biopics Of Black Public Figures In Limbo post tells the sad, sad tale; in short, he's one of many.
We've been tracking 1 project in particular that's been in the works for quite some time now; I'm referring to Don Cheadle's Miles Davis tribute, which has been in development for ages, and, as of today, it's not clear whether it'll ever see the light of day, despite a number of promising reports that it might be seeing some movement.
Our last post on that was in June, which reported on an interview with Miles Davis' son, Erin Davis, and his nephew Vince Wilburn Jr., who both run the Miles Davis Estate, talking with the Wall Street Journal about the new Miles Davis postage stamp, and of course Don Cheadle's movie. In that interview, they revealed that they are definitely working directly with Cheadle to make the project happen, and also (most intriguingly) they said that Antoine Fuqua is/was attached to direct the film!!
That was the first we heard Fuqua's name connected to Cheadle's Miles Davis project; it seemed all along that Cheadle would direct it as well. But son and nephew are on tape saying that Fuqua will direct.
There hasn't been any news since then – at least nothing we've come across; the film's IMDB page, which calls it Untitled Miles Davis Project, with a 2013 release date, lists Fuqua as director currently.
Prior to the above news, it was at the end of May when Cheadle refuted reports that he was taking his Miles Davis project to Broadway first, before adapting it to film. It had been reported by a number of reputable sites that he was, but Cheadle rejected the suggestion on Twitter a day or so after that news flash.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that another Mile Davis film was more-recently announced; this one with George Tillman Jr developing, that will be loosely based on Gregory Davis' book Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis (Gregory Davis being Miles Davis' eldest son). The plan for this project is to produce a more conventional biopic (the project's producers mentioned Walk The Line and Ray as potential models that they'll follow).
WSJ asked Cheadle about that competing film and he had this to say in response:
Look, if the world is ready to have two Miles Davis movies, fantastic. He should have eight or 10 of them […] We're working with the family and we have all the music. There's another period of music, about three or four years [that the other project appears to have rights to]. These estates are sometimes bifurcated. We have what we need for our film. Look, God bless. If there's another quality movie about this legend, that's great. I don't think anyone's going to be making the kind of movie we're making.
We continue to hang on his every word regarding this yet-to-be-made film, which, from all I've heard from a couple of folks who've read the script, is effing dope! Add to that these teases we continue to get from him about what to expect, and I'm definitely very curious about what this thing is going to look, sound and feel like.
Although don't be surprised if we see Tillman Jr's film first.
Actually, don't be surprised if some white Hollywood director decides to direct their own Miles Davis film, it gets fast-tracked by a studio, and we see it in the next 12 months.