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Casting Call: Miles Davis

As for young Miles Davis, we think that 20-year-old television actor Tyler James Williams could carry him through the 1940s and early '50s.

Cheadle claims his film will focus on Davis' later years; however, everyone knows that flashbacks are a biopic prerequisite. We predict that Cheadle's Davis will spend some screen time reminiscencing about his dear, music-teacher mother, Cleota M. Davis. We pick Pariah's Aasha Davis to play Cleota, a decision that was only partially influenced by her last name.

Davis' third wife, Cicely Tyson, was a pretty cool lady in her own right. A longtime actress, Tyson was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 1972's Sounder. Tyson was already 48 when she married Davis in 1981, and she allegedly helped him kick that troublesome cocaine habit he had going on. Sadly, the couple divorced in 1988. Not content with only having one Davis in our film, we would like to see Oscar-hopeful Viola Davis play the Oscar-nominee.

Betty Mabry (later Betty Davis—ha!) was Davis' second wife. While the two were only married for a year, Mabry is credited with introducing Davis to psychedelia and funk via Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone, and James Brown, all of whom heavily influenced Davis' later sound. A model and a singer, Mabry was rumored to have had an affair with Jimi Hendrix during her marriage to Davis. We can't say that we blame her. We nominate current model and actress Yaya DaCosta to play our Betty.

As it might be sort of difficult to extract Don Cheadle from his pet project; and because we're quite fond of him as an actor, we have decided to keep Cheadle as our Miles Davis.


Where, you ask, are all of the musicians in this musical biopic? We left this part until last as we a bit unsure of just which musicians to feature in this Casting Call. With only one slide available, should we cast a Hendrix, a James Brown, Davis' hero Dizzy Gillespie, or one of the many jazz musicians who played with Davis over the years? We decided on Sly Stone, a huge influence on Davis' records of the late '60s and early '70s. We nominate Jamie Foxx as our Sly Stone, because you can never be in too many musical biopics.