Taking on the starring role for a biopic of any kind comes packing its own share of expectations, particularly when it comes to stepping into the shoes of an icon from beyond our time. But for Avengers star Don Cheadle, he was deemed the perfect fit to assume the role of jazz legend Miles Davis long before the biopic ever came to form, after gaining the blessing of Davis’ nephew Vince Wilburn almost a decade ago.
Fast forward to today and we’ve arrived at the first trailer for Miles Ahead. Written and directed by Cheadle, the musical biopic represents something of a passion project for the actor, who recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about bringing Davis’ story to the moviegoing masses.
“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,” he told EW. “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.”
Penned alongside Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson, Miles Ahead also stars Ewan McGregor as a Rolling Stone reporter, and both he and Cheadle’s stylish lead strike up an unlikely friendship as they embark on a search for wayward session tapes in the 70s.
Having already made its bow at the New York Film Festival late last year, Miles Ahead will open for a limited run on April 1.