Pat Broeske has written a N.Y. Times piece about a couple of planned duelling biopics about the legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis… fascinating. The movie world certainly needs another biopic (or two) about a troubled genius musician who had drug problems and wasn’t the most likable or admirable guy in the world. I mean, that’s a story that absolutely needs to be told.
The Davis film most likely to get shot is called Miles and Me (shitty title!); the other one is being assembled by the Davis estate and may star Don Cheadle.
Curiously, Broeske doesn’t mention that the Davis mystique was re-energized a couple of years ago by a scene in Michael Mann‘s Collateral in which Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx visit a Los Angeles jazz club owner (Barry Shabaka Henley) who recalls a vivid encounter he had with Miles in the mid ’60s.
Davis was known to some as “the Prince of Darkness, [partly becasue] he ranted so much about race and prejudice that some acquaintances believed he was the one with racial prejudice. (Even though he never balked at working with white musicians, and he was romantically involved with several white women.) He often performed with his back to his audience, and berated fans who dared approach him.
“Famously fond of cool cars and hot women, Davis had an erratic personal life that included heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, pimping and spousal abuse,” Broeske writes.
“‘I actually left running for my life — more than once,√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√Ç¬ù his former wife Frances Davis recalled in a telephone interview. A onetime Broadway dancer, she said her own career faltered after she left the hit musical West Side Story because Davis told her, ‘A woman should be with her man.’ She now says any screen depiction must be truthful about both his artistry and his rage. ‘There√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢s got to be full treatment of his genius, as well as his shortcomings,’ she said.”
Forget that quality coming through from the Davis estate version — familymembers always protect their own.