Don Cheadle talks about role as Miles Davis in new movie

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Don Cheadle stars as the artist who became one of the most innovative musicians of his time. (WLS)

Don Cheadle stars as the artist who became one of the most innovative musicians of his time.

But Miles Davis' life was plagued with demons.

"When you do a passion project like this, does it almost kill you?" ABC7's Janet Davies asked Cheadle.

"Yeah, in a word, my wife came halfway through filming and saw me and it was like, 'You can't do this anymore, I'm gonna pull the plug on this thing.' Because it was really no rest," Cheadle said. "But look, if you're gonna be beat up and exhausted for something, it might as well be for the thing you really believe in."

"Why did you pick this dark period in his time and create this story within that?" Davies asked.

"Because he's coming into the light, and for us it's the most fertile part as a storyteller, when you bump into this research where the most prolific voice, one of the most prolific artists in the 20th century, went silent for five years," Cheadle said. "People think he was just jazz, and we wanted to dispel that right off the bat in the movie. We wanted to create a narrative which would showcase the funk, the rock, the hip hop, the bee bop, the swing, the blues, everything that Miles touched.

"It was important to me to learn the solos and learn how to play and to have the facility and be able to understand it from the inside out, as opposed to just faking it," Cheadle said. "And knowing that I could get away with it because most people wouldn't know. I want trumpet players to watch it and go, 'Oh, he's actually doing it."

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