Miles Ahead is a huge project for Don Cheadle. Not only is it the actor's directorial debut, but he's stepping into the shoes of jazz legend Miles Davis. The biopic is unusual in that it follows the musician not at his career peak, but rather in the late '70s, during his more reclusive period. Like the David Foster Wallace biopic End of the Tour from last year, Miles Ahead pairs up an eccentric genius with a journalist. Ewan McGregor co-stars as a Rolling Stone writer "here to write your comeback story."
So why that period of his life? Cheadle tells EW:
"Just the fact that he wasn’t playing. The fact that he hadn’t played for five years, up to that point, and in a way, was either chopping at the bit to figure out what to say again, if to say again, or he was going down towards death very quickly. He was standing on that knife’s edge at that point, and I don’t think he even know which way it was gonna go. So for us, when we got to the period in all the research about how Miles didn’t play for five years, we were like, “What?” [Laughs] That was the part that was the most interesting from a human being standpoint to me. Musically and what he did with his art form was amazing to me all the time, for the most part. But for me, as a human and an artist and someone who’s a creative person, what happens when you just stop for five years? That’s why we picked that moment to sort of be the departure point: him on the verge of talking again, basically."
EW also notes that back in 2006 Davis' nephew Vince Wilburn told reporters if anyone were to play his uncle in a movie, it would have to be Cheadle. Well 10 years later it's finally happened! Watch the trailer above.
Miles Ahead opens April 1.