Director George Tillman Jr has been enlisted to to help develop and direct the biopic Miles Davis, about the revolutionary and iconic jazz musician. Producers Nick Davis Raynes and Ged Dickersin have partnered with Gregory Davis, the jazz master’s eldest son, to bring the gifted trumpeter’s career-spanning story to the screen. Miles Davis over the course of his long career continuously reinvented himself and evolved as a musician and a composer, conquering personal demons and heroin and cocaine addition the way. Fellow musicians John Coltrane, Billie Holiday and Jimi Hendrix are also vital to the story. Numerous supporting figures include Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Cicely Tyson, Gil Evans, Michael Jackson, Dizzy Gillespie, Sugar-Ray Robinson, Betty Mabry, Francis Taylor and others. Project is loosely based on Gregory’s book Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis, and filmmakers have access to Miles Davis’ music, particularly from 1963-77.
Tillman’s directing resume includes Notorious, Soul Food, Men of Honor and last year’s Faster with Dwayne Johnson. He served as producer on Barbershop and its sequel, a Showtime series based on the initial movie and the spinoff feature Beauty Shop. Additional producing credits include Roll Bounce and Nothing Like the Holidays. “In much the same way that Walk the Line and Ray were able to open the world’s eyes to the life stories of Johnny Cash and Ray Charles,” producer Raynes said, “we want to make a film that will do the same justice for Miles Davis.” Davis’ son Gregory said he trusted Tillman and Raynes to “tell the true story of my father – without any sugar-coating” but still reveal him as “an amazing man.”
Don Cheadle has been nurturing a separate Miles Davis project for some time for him to direct and star, with the cooperation of another of the jazzman’s sons, Erin Davis.