“Kill the Trumpet Player” centers on a few dangerous days in the life of Miles Davis (Cheadle), as he bursts out of his silent period and conspires with a Rolling Stone writer (McGregor) to steal back his music. Saldana will play Frances Davis, Miles’ former wife.
Cheadle will make his feature directorial debut from a screenplay co-written by Steven Baigelman.
BiFrost’s Daniel Wagner is financing and will produce with Robert Ogden Barnum, Cheadle and Lenore Zerman for Crescendo Productions, Darryl Porter and Vince Wilburn Jr. Executive producers are Pamela Hirsch, Cheryl Davis, Erin Davis, Cassian Elwes and Baigelman. Musician Herbie Hancock, a Davis collaborator, will also participate.
“Don is one of our generation’s greatest actors, and this is the role he was born to play. His take on the conventional biopic of one of music’s most celebrated icons is cinematic ‘jazz’ and too unique to resist,” said Wagner in the announcement. “It fits naturally with BiFrost’s commitment to support talent and their passion projects, so we are thrilled to work with Don on his feature directorial debut.”
The long-gestating project was packaged by UTA, which is handling U.S. rights. IM Global is handling international distribution at the American Film Market.
At AFM, Cheadle dismissed the notion that “Kill the Trumpet Player” will be a traditional biopic.
“Let’s kill that term, OK? I hope with this film we can kill the biopic. This film won’t try to give a broad overview of Davis’ life and give short shrift to this man’s story,” he said at the time. “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?”
McGregor, repped by UTA, Sloane Offer and U.K.’s United Agents, will next be seen in crime drama Son of a Gun, and he is currently filming Mortdecai with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Saldana is repped by ICM Partners. She stars in Out of the Furnace and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, Nina Simone biopic Nina and Infinitely Polar Bear.