Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana Join Don Cheadle’s Miles Davis Biopic, 'Kill the Trumpet Player'

By Louise Burton on Nov 20, 2013 11:10 PM EST

Actors Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana have signed on to Don Cheadle's movie about Miles Davis, Kill the Trumpet Player. McGregor will play a Rolling Stone writer who befriends Davis, and Saldana will play Davis' ex-wife, Frances.

Cheadle will direct and star in the film, which is currently in pre-production. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Steven Baigelman. Pianist Herbie Hancock, who played with Davis at one time, will score the film.

Jazz icon Miles Davis made many recordings, including his 1959 album Kind of Blue, which sold over four million copies in the U.S. Davis later branched out into hard bop, fusion and funk, recording Bitches Brew and other albums that were embraced by some listeners, while others criticized Davis for abandoning pure jazz.

The film deals with a time in Davis' life when he stopped playing the trumpet, his so-called "silent period."

But don't call the film a biopic. "Let's kill that term, O.K.? I hope with this film we can kill the biopic," Cheadle said during the American Film Market conference earlier this month.

"This film won't try to give a broad overview of Davis' life and give short shrift to this man's story. For us as creative people, the time of his life that was most interesting was the five years when he wasn't playing, when he was silent. What was going on in his mind? And how did he come out of it and return to music?"

Cheadle's movie isn't the only current Miles Davis project designed to reach general audiences. A museum exhibition about Davis' life and music is currently touring the world. The multimedia exhibit, called "We Want Miles," has been shown in France, Canada and Brazil, with plans to visit the U.S. soon. Davis' daughter, Cheryl, told The New York Times that the exhibit is a "comprehensive walk through his life, with trumpets, pictures, people speaking about him, and original manuscripts and sheet music."

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TagsEwan McGregor, Zoe Saldana, Don Cheadle, Miles Davis, Kill the Trumpet Player, Kind of Blue, Bitches' Brew, Herbie Hancock, We Want Miles, Steven Baigelman

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