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George Tillman Jr. to Direct Miles Davis Biopic

The director has been hired to develop and direct a feature film about the legendary jazz musician, tentatively titled "Miles." Nick Davis Raynes and Ged Dickersin are producing with help from the late trumpeter's eldest son, Gregory.

Miles Davis Studio Recording - P 2011
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Notorious helmer George Tillman, Jr. has been hired to develop and direct a feature film about legendary jazz musician Miles Davis, tentatively titled Miles. The late trumpeter's eldest son, Gregory Davis, will consult on the film.

A central figure on the music scene for nearly fifty years, Davis was a perpetual innovator who collaborated with many of the jazz greats, from Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to Gil Evans and Thelonious Monk. His addiction to drugs nearly derailed his career, but he persevered as a major influence on other musicians until his death in 1991.

Nick Davis Raynes and Ged Dickersin are producing the project, which is loosely based on the book Dark Magus: The Jekyll and Hyde Life of Miles Davis, written by Gregory Davis. Isaac Fergusson wrote the original draft of the screenplay, but the filmmakers are further developing the script.

“Our intention is to make a feature film that will appeal beyond the worldwide audience of Miles Davis die-hard fans, to also include those who don't know the first thing about the man, and introduce new ears to his music,” said Raynes. “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, respectively, we want to make a film that will do the same justice for Miles Davis. Miles, in his fifty-year career as a musician, transcends time, space and race."

Actor Don Cheadle, who portrayed Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1998 HBO film The Rat Pack, has been trying for years to jumpstart a Miles Davis biopic to direct, produce and star in. That project was once set up at Overture Films but is still looking for traction.

The CAA-repped Tillman has directed the films Faster, Men of Honor and Soul Food. Tillman also directed the biopic of hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G., Notorious, in 2009.

“I trust George Tillman and Nick Raynes will tell the true story of my father – without any sugar-coating,” said Gregory Davis. “My father was an amazing man who believed in the promise of America. I know this film will do him justice.”