Don Cheadle & Ewan McGregor
Ewan McGregor at the Miles Ahead premiere in New York. This is Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis passion project and directorial debut. Sarah wrote about the trailer a few weeks ago – click here for a refresher. The film opens next week. But is it the film that Don wanted to make?
When discussing the challenges of getting the movie made in the first place, he revealed that he couldn’t raise the money required for the project without modifying his original vision to include a white actor, explaining that it became a “financial imperative”:
"There is a lot of apocryphal, not proven evidence that black films don't sell overseas... Having a white actor in this film turned out to actually be a financial imperative."
That ended up being Ewan McGregor’s role. He plays a Rolling Stone reporter and the story now includes an “interracial buddy” angle and while Don’s not resentful about that, and rather complimentary about Ewan’s contribution, there has to be some lingering wistfulness about whether or not he lived up to his dream of putting together a film that Miles Davis himself would have wanted to be in:
"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. But that was a component of... allowing us to even have a budget to get the film made.”
F-ck but that is complicated, non? Like, if Ewan McGregor is one of the reasons you might want to see Miles Ahead, are you perpetuating the fallacy that all-black films don’t have an audience?
Ironically, some of the criticism so far about Miles Ahead has been that Don wasn’t experimental enough if the execution, that you could sense that he was holding back – which, of course, is now explained by the fact that he did indeed redirect because of money. It’s a bleak cycle.
There’s no easy segue from that so I’m just going to hard-left it. Ewan attended the event last night in quite possibly the best pair of pants ever worn.
Jamie McCarthy/ Getty Images