One of the best actors in Hollywood just got a whole lot busier; Don Cheadle signed on for no less than five new films. No wonder the ShoWest convention, a fdunction that tends to look at the films of the year ahead rather than award what has already been and gone, has named him male star of the year.
The most interesting of the bunch is a biopic of Miles Davis. Not only is Cheadle starring as the legendary jazz musician, he’ll also be using this story to mark his directing debut, which has been written by Stephen J. Rivele and Chris Wilkinson, who penned Nixon for Oliver Stone. The Davis movie (which we’ll bet a packet of crisps ought to be called Kind Of Blue) is being made through production company Cresendo, with whom Cheadle is clearly good friends, as they’ve sealed the deal on his other four upcoming projects as well.
He’s got a comedy on the way called Quest To Ref, which doesn’t have a director yet, but the story (a lawyer gives up his job to pursue his dream of becoming a basketball referee) has been put together by Ben Watkins and Guy Guillet, who’ve expanded the idea from a short film they made a few years back. No word yet if they’re being allowed to direct this one.
Cheadle’s also set to star in Traitor, which with it’s plot of an undercover anti-terrorism operative suspected of crossing over to the cell he’s infiltrated, sounds a lot like a fusion of TV’s Sleeper Cell and later series of 24. That one’s being directed by The Day After Tomorrow’s Jeff Nachmanoff, so it could go either way, but we have faith in Don, so long as he leaves the cockney accent and its accompanying rhyming slang at home.
There’s also a co-production with Plan B (the B representing Brad Pitt, given that it’s his company) in the works, a drugs drama called Marching Powder. It’s based on the story of a dealer (to be played by – yep, you guessed it – Don) who spent five years as a tour guide in San Pedro Prison, Bolivia, which isn’t exactly known for being the most friendly place in the world.
Finally (for today), Cheadle will be a part of Michael Apted’s drama Broken Adonis, about an former convict who unusually becomes friends with a female border patrol officer.
All this comes after three films you’ll see this year – Reign Over Me, where he plays opposite Adam Sandler in serious mode, Talk To Me, another movie about a real life ex-con – this one became a hugely popular DJ during the time of the Nixon administration, and some little film about gambling… Ocean’s 13, or something. Just be thankful he’s such a good performer – anyone less and you might get sick of them; Cheadle has the goods, and we’re looking forward to all of these.