Pour yourself a big glass of bitches brew - whatever it may be - and let’s all cheer Don Cheadle and BiFrost Pictures for finally putting together the pieces needed to make the Miles Davis biopic that was first announced now over seven years ago. One Direction seemingly gets a concert movie once a year, yet a film devoted to one of the greatest musicians to ever live has seen more delays than rush hour traffic in Los Angeles in the rain. But the wait is now ready to come to an end, as Cheadle will make Kill the Trumpet Player his directorial debut and will be blowing his lungs out as Davis himself, with a supporting cast that already includes Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana. You’re correct in thinking they won’t be playing members from one of his quintets.
Rather than stretch the film out to cover Davis’ entire career, Kill the Trumpet Player will focus on several hectic days in Davis’ life and, as it says in a press release, see "as he bursts out of his silent period and conspires with a Rolling Stone writer (McGregor) to steal back his music." Cheadle co-wrote the script with Steven Baigelman, whose only other produced screenplays are Feeling Minnesota and Brother’s Keeper - so who knows how well this story will get told.
I applaud them for telling a more focused story, especially in the overwrought musician biopic sub-genre. It isn’t always necessary to see an artist’s rise to fame, drug use, fall from fame and eventual rise back to fame (or death) every time. I need two things from this movie. First, I want a couple of small, gritty and outstanding jazz performance sequences - and it’s a good sign that legendary pianist and bandleader Herbie Hancock will be involved with the film in some capacity. Secondly, I need to see is Cheadle snorting a fat line of coke and going off on somebody with a trumpet. I’m not asking for much
Beyond starring in the biggest film of the year so far in Iron Man 3, Cheadle has been busy polishing the Golden Globe he won for his winning work in the otherwise meh Showtime series House of Lies.
McGregor, whom we’ll pretend wasn’t in Jack the Giant Slayer a few months ago, will star in the upcoming ensemble comedic drama August: Osage County, and is currently filming David Koepp’s crime drama Mortdecai with Johnny Depp.
After a blockbuster summer in Star Trek Into Darkness, Saldana is toning it down in scope but keeping the drama for Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace, and then she’s ramping the scope back up again for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy next summer.
The package for Kill the Trumpet Player was put together for the American Film Market crowd, so hopefully we’ll have more news about the project soon. In the meantime, catch up on some Miles Davis media here while you listen to the incomparable set below.