Off the heels of the successful unveiling of Miles Davis Way, the love and tributes to jazz legend Miles Davis continue– and rightfully so. This week, acclaimed actor Don Cheadle announced his plans to complete a film about Miles Davis, titled Miles Ahead, and launched a crowdfunding campaign on to raise the necessary funds. Also, the Golden Globe Award-winning actor has chosen Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper, Nas, and more for the soundtrack– which we obviously can’t wait to hear. To find out more and to support this project, click HERE.  Oh, and yes! That’s Don Cheadle playing the trumpet in the video below.

The film is decidedly not a standard biopic. It focuses, instead, on a story about a few days in the life of Davis. Miles Ahead stands as Cheadle’s directorial debut and features him in the title role, referencing Davis’ “silent period” of almost six years. In a statement last fall, Cheadle spoke of his choice, as it relates to this period of Davis’ life, and how it shaped this film:

“I hope with this film we can kill the biopic,” he said. “This film won’t try to give a broad overview of Davis’ life and give short shrift to this man’s story. For us as creative people, the time of his life that was most interesting was the five years when he wasn’t playing, when he was silent. What was going on in his mind? And how did he come out of it and return to music?”

The screenplay, written by Cheadle along with Steven Baigelman, tells of Davis bursting out of his silent period in the mid-70s and back onto the music scene with a “Rolling Stone” journalist played by Ewan McGregor. The film has been a long time in the making. It is something that Cheadle says he has considered since Davis’ death in 1991 and was initially overwhelmed, due to the requests, but ultimately chose to go the independent route.
Keeping with the spirit of Davis’ concept of “social music,” Cheadle set out to reach people in the music and film communities seeking their support of the project using social media platforms.  With a goal of $325,000 by July 6, the funds will go to support principal photography in Cincinnati. Pledge prizes include rare and limited edition items such as Davis posters, artwork, as well as set visits and access to screenings.
Cheadle is also putting his own money behind the project stating:
“I’m personally putting a big chunk of money into our budget as well as putting all my fees back in,” he says. “But the extra money we hope to raise on Indiegogo will help us re-create the multiple time periods we’re dealing with and (help with) the logistics of incorporating all the music.”

The project has already received much support, including that of Davis’ family, and seeks to speak to broader ideals that resonate with many people through the life and work of a legend.

Miles Ahead is not just about the music. It’s about what we all face at one time or another in our lives; questions about who we really are, what we have to say and how will we say it. How will we ultimately be defined and who gets to say so?”


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