Antoine Fuqua to Direct Don Cheadle in Miles Davis Biopic

Published 3 years ago by

don cheadle miles davis biopic Antoine Fuqua to Direct Don Cheadle in Miles Davis Biopic

A biopic about jazz musician Miles Davis has been on Hollywood’s to-do list for a while now. Last fall, director George Tillman Jr. (Notorious) was tapped to bring Davis’ story to the big screen. However, not too long thereafter, word got out that Don Cheadle was developing his own project, based on the highly-influential trumpeter/composer’s life.

In a recent interview, the heads of the Miles Davis Estate – his son Erin Davis and nephew Vince Wilburn Jr. – revealed that they are actively pushing for Cheadle’s Davis biopic to happen. Furthermore, the duo are now saying that Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) is onboard to direct Cheadle in the film.

The aforementioned Wall Street Journal interview with E. Davis and Wilburn (tip of the hat to Shadow and Act) marks the first indication that Cheadle won’t direct the Miles Davis project, as was previously said to be his plan. Assuming the report is accurate, that doesn’t, per se, mean the movie is going to be retooled as a more conventional dramatization of Davis’ story – now that Fuqua is calling the shots – unlike Cheadle’s original vision, which he described to WSJ as follows:

“It’s not a biopic, per se. 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. The bulk of it takes place in ’79, in a period where he actually wasn’t playing. But we traverse a lot of it his life, but it’s not a cradle to grave story…”

For comparison’s sake: the Davis biopic that was (is?) being developed by Tillman Jr. was being fashioned to take a more formulaic approach to the musican’s 50-year long career (think of a film similar to Ray and Walk the Line).

miles davis biopic Antoine Fuqua to Direct Don Cheadle in Miles Davis Biopic

The Great Miles Davis

As far as this writer is concerned: Cheadle’s film about Davis sounds interesting, and much more promising than a potentially-generic biopic that attempts to cram the vast majority of its subject’s fascinating life into a neat box – and thus, fail to do it justice. Fuqua doesn’t exactly boast a spotless record as a director, with a few more critical duds (King Arthur, Shooter) than widely-admired hits under his belt (Training Day, Lightning in a Bottle); still, he’s a competent-enough director to do justice to Davis’ story, assuming the screenplay is up to scratch.

Moreover, this Davis flick reads as a passion project for Cheadle, so the Oscar-nominated actor will surely push hard for a quality final product; at the least, one that doesn’t fall too short of its ambition. Cheadle is currently reprising his role as James Rhodes/War Machine for Iron Man 3 – and has a second season on House of Lies in his future – but otherwise, his schedule is open enough to ensure the Miles Davis movie won’t end up getting put on the backburner.

We’ll keep you updated on Cheadle and Fuqua’s Miles Davis biopic as the story develops.


Source: Wall Street Journal [via Shadow and Act and Collider]

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  1. I’m up for this either way, but Ray was a killer film, and I wouldn’t mind at all for something along those lines to be made about this.

    Miles Davis influenced FAR more than people nowadays have a clue about (like Ray Charles did as well), so I really wouldn’t mind a film style general education in a package.

    Of course, I’m not talking cradle to the grave either, I’m really wanting a focus on bop through fusion, without the emphasis on drugs being a negative.

    I know I’m not going to get what I really want to see, but anything decently made about Miles would be cool tbh. Don Cheadle rules, and can pull off anything he wants. I’ll be keeping an eye on this. ty for the story! I am intrigued.


  2. I can’t help but be incredibly excited about this being in the works. It seems a bit out of line from Antoine’s epic fight films like “Tears of the Sun”, “Training Day” or “Replacement Killers” but I am a huge fan of Miles Davis and in LOVE with Cheadle especially after “Hotel Rwanda” and “House of Lies” so I can’t say they could really mess this up. They better get that jheri curl going somethin fierce when the time comes in the film.

  3. YES!

    • I would prefer the movie take place in the 50′s or 60′s to showcase his musical brIllance.

  4. The ’79 angle is interesting. But here’s hoping that Miles’ brilliant history and back-story gets its due within this late-70s, pre-return framework.

  5. Unfortunately, most of the general public appreciation for Jazz(especially improv jazz) is not very popular these days, many people who are not “in the know” would benefit more from a movie closer to “Walk the Line” or “Ray” so they can really know what Miles was all about especially for the younger generation(who mainly don’t listen to jazz unless they are musicians)who don’t know about Miles Davis and would care less even still. Surprisingly many of the youngsters I spoke to about Ray Charles never knew who he was or how great he was until they saw the biopic movie. I may be wrong but people may not get the entire message(or wrong message) about Miles with this sort of idea.

    I’ve been waiting a long time to see this movie made but made well.

    • Agreed. Cheadle’s more abstract idea might not go over too well with people other than critics and people into artsy film. For instance, his vision sounds like I’d love it, but most people I know wouldn’t care for.