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Posts Tagged ‘Miles Davis’

“In fifth grade I was Templeton the Rat in a production of Charlotte’s Web. I remember I had a friend who worked in a doughnut shop. I’d go in, get a doughnut and sit there with my script, going over the lines and making notes in the margin. I was serious!”
Don Cheadle

What’s actor Don Cheadle angry about? He’s had a long and successful career that includes roles in Traffic, Iron Man 2, and Hotel Rwanda. He has his sights set on directing and when asked when his “adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Tishomingo Blues” would be in theaters you’ll see what ticks him off.

“The script is completed and it’s in different states of being set up. It’s been a struggle. Nobody wants to spend money, and everybody is scared to have something not go (fail at the box-office) and be blamed for doing it. So nobody in Hollywood wants to make a movie, ultimately. There are no creative people around Hollywood anymore. That’s not their primary concern. It can’t be. They have other fiscal responsibilities. Studios are run like corporations now. I mean, they would like to make “art,” but the bottom line is whether the video sales can work and whether the movie will sell in foreign markets. It’s amazing that Hotel Rwanda got made. It’s amazing that any good movies get made.”
Don Cheadle
San Francisco Chronicle
Don Cheadle Pulls No Punches
January 2, 2005

Two years after that article Cheadle told ComingSoon.net that “Tishomingo is dead.” And he spoke about getting a film about Miles Davis off the ground.

“Things happen, and it takes three to five years to get any movie off the ground traditionally. That’s the standard time it takes. Hopefully we’ll be in production on Miles Davis next year, but again, this is the business. We have to get the script up there and get it approved. We’ve found a home and if everything works great, then we have a studio and we just go.”
Don Cheadle

A couple of months ago Cheadle told VIBE magazine, “We are coming right up on the end point. I think we are getting to the point where we may get some traction and get it going.” But as we come up on the end of 2010 a film on Miles Davis doesn’t appear any closer to production than Tishomingo Blues.

So if you see Cheadle today and he looks a little upset, now you’ll know why.

Scott W. Smith

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Budd Schulberg the Oscar winning writer of On the Waterfront died today. And it’s another reminder of what I call the mountain-top experience. For Schulberg On the Waterfront was his top of Everest script. Released in 1954 and starring Marlon Brando the film went on to win a total of eight Oscars and is considered on of the greatest films of all-time.

That film eclipsed the success of his novel What Makes Sammy Run? Schulberg grew up around the industry as his father was the head of Paramount Studios back in the 1930s. He also went to Dartmouth. Sure having an Ivy league education and a father high-up in the industry helps you get a foot in the door, but I don’t think they ever have been a great combination for writing great screenplays. 

He paid his dues as a script reader making $25 a week and writing short stories that got published.  

Lesser known about Schulberg is after the Watts riots in LA back in the 60s he started the Watts Writers Workshop as a way to help African-Americans hone their craft.  One of the writers to come out of that workshop is Quincy Troupe who became the first Poet Laureate of California in 2002, won an award for his book Miles, the Autobiography (written with Miles Davisand also wrote The Pursuit of Happyness along with Chris Carder (which became the Will Smith film).

Remember if you get to the top of the creative mountain you don’t actually get to live there. Hopefully you get to enjoy the view for a few moments and collect a few awards, but one you come down take a lead from Schulberg and help point the way for others.

 

Scott W. Smith

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