Free Casting Advice
The New York Times just ran an article about two bio-pics in the works about Miles Davis. One, based on the autobiography Miles "wrote" with Quincy Troupe, is produced by Rudy Langlais in conjunction with Patriot Pictures and Beacon Pictures. The other is an official bio-pic authorized by the Davis estate. From what I read, neither has solved the problem of whom to cast in the title role. How do you substitute for an icon?
Some free advice: Instead of casting well known Hollywood actors such as Don Cheadle or Wesley Snipes (both have been mentioned), cross the pond and ask David Oyelowo, the young British actor best known to Americans for playing Danny in the excellent spy series MI-5 (known in the UK as Spooks). Handsome and charismatic, Oyelowo, who cut his teeth doing Shakespeare on the stage, steals every scene while also projecting a degree of sophistication that transcends color and nationality. What could be more suited to a portrayal of Miles at his best?
The question is, will either of these films bother to portray Miles at his best? Or will they go for the usual cliched portrait of the jazz musician as drug-addled celebrity and sourpuss victim of racial prejudice? If I were Oyelowo's agent, I would ask!