Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why Don Cheadle's the man

There was already little doubt about that, at least in my book, but now Don Cheadle wants to make sure everyone knows it by taking charge.

The newly crowned ShoWest male star of the year has five projects lined up for his new production company, Crescendo Productions. The most intriguing, and hopefully the first, is a biopic of jazz legend Miles Davis.

Like everyone, I've had just about enough of the music biopics, but Miles is such a fascinating subject that I'll give this at least a chance. The stories you hear like about he and Charlie Parker walking down the streets of NYC after jamming all night, peering in the "Today" show studios to give the gathered fans a real show, could make this a lot of fun.

Cheadle will, of course, play the jazzman himself, and will also make his directorial debut on the flick. "Nixon" scribes Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson are penning the script, and the company has secured the music and life rights to the jazz legend.

Other projects on Crescendo's slate:

"Traitor" is a politically charged drama that was written and will be directed by Jeff Nachmanoff ("The Day After Tomorrow"). Cheadle will star as an operative embedded in a terrorist organization who becomes the target of federal agents; they fear he's crossed the line and actually become a terrorist himself. Makes me kind of say mehhh.

"Quest to Ref" is a comic vehicle for Cheadle, scripted by Ben Watkins and Guy Guillet. Story concerns a disenchanted lawyer who follows his life dream to become a pro basketball ref. Bring it on. Cheadle's a funny guy.

The Peter Biegen-scripted drama "Broken Adonis" has Michael Apted attached to direct. The story concerns an ex-con (Cheadle) who forms an unlikely relationship with a border patrol officer and her young informant.

Cheadle continues to work with "Ocean's" co-star Brad Pitt's Plan B and Reason Pictures on "Marching Powder," a fact-based story of a drug dealer who spent five years as a tour guide in the notorious San Pedro Prison in Bolivia. Cheadle will play the tour guide.

In addition to the features, Cheadle is producing, with "Crash" cohort Cathy Schulman and Jonathan Mark Harris, the Participant/Warner Independent docu "An Indifferent World," which is already in production. Cheadle is one of five subjects of the film who are trying to address genocide in Darfur. Ted Braun is directing and is in the Sudan shooting the film. Sounds a little self-important to me, but every little bit helps.

All this, of course, is about the future. In the present or soon-to-be, he has three other flicks coming, some good and some to worry about.

Solidly in the good category is "Talk to me," a return to the director's chair for the much-missed Kasi Lemmons ("Eve's Bayou"), which tells the story of D.C. radio DJ Ralph "Petey" Greene. The flick, due in July, also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and Martin Sheen, and is officially one of the movies I'm most looking forward to in 2007.

The other two sound more dubious. I just have no desire to watch Adam Sandler as a man who lost his entire family on 9/11. If this isn't an insult to everyone who really lost someone on this horrid day, I'll be surprised. Cheadle will be on hand to give it at least a smidgen of class as Sandler's old college roommate, who helps him deal with his grief.

Possibly even worse is the thoroughly unnecessary "Ocean's 13." I actually typed "Ocean's 15" first, which was probably more a nightmarish vision of the future rather than a typo. Don't get me wrong here. I loved the "Ocean's 11" remake, and I like to see Soderbergh having fun, but "Ocean's 12" was simply excremental, and the series has to stop now before it just keeps getting worse.

And, just in case we wanted to make sure that everyone in the world hates America, "Ocean's 13" will be screened at Cannes this year, though thankfully out of competition.

But enough of that negativity. This is all about Don Cheadle, and even if that accent he tried to lay down in the "Ocean's" movies was atrocious, he is still clearly the man, now more than ever.

Craig, Moore in Meirelles' Blindness

Along with Aussie Phillip Noyce, Fernando Meirelles ranks as my favorite director of political films working today, so any news about his next project, "Blindness," is welcome to me, especially when it's this good.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, 007 Daniel Craig and Julianne Moore are in negotiations to star in the flick. Adapted by Don McKellar from Nobel Prize winner Jose Saramago's acclaimed novel, the story chronicles an epidemic of blindness that sweeps through an unnamed contemporary city and pushes society to the brink of breakdown.

After Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men" I'm definitely ready for another dystopian vision, so with this one I can only say bring it on. Peace out.


Tameshk said...

Dear Reel

Although I like other books by Saramago better than Blindness, but Blindness was a hit or better say an epidemic in Iran some years ago and almost everyone that I know had read it. So I am sure many people want to see the movie!

Reel Fanatic said...

I haven't read the book myself, Tameshk, so thanks for the head's up .. Meirelles' City of God is simply one of my fovorite movies ever, so I'm definitely psyched to see what he comes up with for this one

Anonymous said...

I'm with Tameshk. By far my favorite Saramago is "The Stone Raft". Anyway you cut it though, it must be said that the man is pure genius and I'm always proud of the fact that we share the same homeland. Not bad for a little country on the edge of Europe.

"An Indifferent World" also sounds interesting. One I'll have to keep my eye on.

Divinity said...

We caught the trailer for Ocean's 13 when we went to see 300 this weekend. It lost to Pathfinder for Worst Trailer but took the cake for Most Unnecessary Trailer. The bf figures they just keep making them as a cover for them all taking a vacation together every couple of years. I'd call it a working holiday except, from what I heard, nothing about 12 actually worked.

Reel Fanatic said...

I actually watched 12, Divinity, and I can unfortunately confirm for you that nothing about that disaster worked at all ... I'm thrilled that they get to hang out together every couple of years, I just wish they would stop putting it on film already

Nell Minow said...

I will be very interested to hear what you think about "Reign Over Me." I am a huge Cheadle fan, too, and I wrote in my blog this morning about how frustrated I was with the film's lighting, which made it hard to see Cheadle's performance.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'll definitely stop by to read that, Nell .. I've seen a couple positive reviews so far, but I just don't think I'll be able to stomach Sandler in this one