- post by: #TooRealForTV
- February 19, 2016
Why Was Don Cheadle Forced to Cast a White Actor in Miles Davis Biopic?
Don Cheadle had a great script, talented actors and the support of Miles Davis‘s family ready to go when he set out to make a biopic on the jazz legend’s life, but he couldn’t move forward without one key ingredient: a white co-star.
The Oscar nominated actor, who produced, co-wrote and stars in Miles Ahead, reveals that it wasn’t until he wrote the part of a fictional Rolling Stone reporter and cast Scottish hunk Ewan McGregor in the role that he got the green light for the project, despite raising $360,000 from crowdfunding.
Speaking on a panel at the Berlin Film Festival, he said it was â€œone of the realities of the business that we are inâ€ that films with all-Black casts are thought to be bad investments because they allegedly won’t work for an international audience.
â€œThere is a lot of apocryphal, not proven evidence that Black films donâ€™t sell overseas,â€ he told reporters. â€œHaving a white actor in this film turned out to actually be a financial imperative.â€
In order to get foreign sales dollars to fund production, Cheadle says he was forced to rework the script, which focuses on a period in the late 1970s in which Davis fell into a creative slump, to include a shady reporter who follows around the trumpeter. Thankfully, Cheadle says, it turned out to be a good thing for the film.
“I think it works great, and particularly the fact that Ewan McGregor is the actor who is in it, I think he is fantastic in the movie,” he says. “But that was a component ofâ€¦ allowing us to even have a budget to get the film made.â€