Don Cheadle says he needed to have a white co-star in order to secure funding for his movie ‘Miles Ahead.’
A fictionalised take on the life of legendary jazz musician Miles Davis, ‘Miles Ahead’ sees Cheadle make his feature debut as writer-director as well as playing the lead - but he tells Deadline that the casting of Ewan McGregor in a supporting role proved vital to getting the film made.
“There are different metrics by which those who are going to spend money on films determine if it’s a good risk or not, and there is a lot of apocryphal, not proven evidence that black films don’t sell overseas.
“Having a white actor in this film turned out to be a financial imperative. It was a component of getting to a certain number that would allow us a certain budget to get the film made.
“It’s one of the realities of the business we’re in.”
McGregor portrays a Rolling Stone journalist who helps coax Davis out of semi-retirement - an embellishment which Cheadle ultimately feels was to the film’s benefit: “I think it works great and particularly because of Ewan McGregor.”
Cheadle had already raised $370,000 of the money needed to make ‘Miles Ahead’ via a crowdsourcing campaign in 2014.
‘Miles Ahead’ opens in UK cinemas on 22 April - a week before Cheadle reprises his Marvel role of War Machine in ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ opening 29 April.
Picture Credit: Sony