Sundance: Conversation with Don Cheadle
Sundance is always a good idea! This year was the occasion to meet Don Cheadle and co-star Emayatzy Corinealdi, and discuss further about “Miles Ahead” a film dedicated to legendary trumpeter Miles Davis.
Don Cheadle also directed the film, which is the first time. He explained us that he had to hire Ewan Mc Gregor as co-star to be able to finance the film: “Thank God that Ewan doesn’t have an ego issue and is not someone who would look at a role like that and think, ‘Well, I’m not just going to run around behind you and support you.’ he said. This information definitely sheds a light on #OscarSoWhite controversy. Diversity casting was the key and a financial engine for this project obviously.
It actually took ten years to release the film, as more than six years were necessary to have a greenlit script. “The script went through many iterations,” told us Cheadle. “We rebooted it … and that was another five, six years before we were able to find financing. And then lose it. And then cobble it together again.”
Artistically, the film breaks many rules, so did Miles Davis. Don Cheadle didn’t want to give a complete overview of Davis’ life. “The chronological arc of Miles Davis’ life, that’s been done,” he said. “I wanted to make a film that felt rock ‘n’ roll, that felt improv, that felt jazz. More of a meditation that asked the question: What happens when one of our most prolific and greatest artists of any time goes silent? And puts his talent on ice, then wants to get it off ice?”
Musically, Don Cheadle allows the music to speak for itself which is smart. For the role Cheadle started studying seriously four years ago for the part. “The trumpet is one of the meanest and hardest instruments that there is,” says Cheadle. “The learning curve is very steep. I still practice every day.”
Regarding the cast, beside Ewan Mc Gregor we were very happy to see Emayatzy Corinealdi. We actually loved her in Ava DuVernay‘s film “In The Middle Of Nowhere“. In Miles Ahead she plays Davis’ wife Frances Taylor. Zoe Saldana had to step down for the part due to a scheduling conflict.
Miles Ahead – Written by Steven Baigelman, Don Cheadle, Stephen J. Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson. Directed by Don Cheadle. With Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg, Don Cheadle, Keith Stanfield. Opens in theaters in NY and LA on April 1st.
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